Parents step forward to help

Parent volunteers rallied round to help ensure students could safely return to Ripon Grammar School after nearly three months away as an extensive Covid-19 testing programme got underway.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 11:42 am

More than 40 additional helpers supported RGS staff in reassuring, advising and supervising students as the school started the task of administering 2,790 lateral flow tests, then processing and recording the results, over six days of in-school testing.

Upper sixth form student Helena Da Costa said she was glad to have the test so she could return to RGS: “It is necessary and important to do it in order to get back to school.”

The 18-year-old, from outside Ripon, said: “It was very efficient, I thought it would take longer but it has been organised well and wasn’t too uncomfortable.”

Parent volunteer Zita Branton, a magistrate from Burton Leonard, whose son is in lower sixth form, said the testing, carried out in the sports hall, was extremely well-organised.

“It’s been so well-run, it’s like clockwork.

“All the students have been so polite and so pleasant, a little anxious but happy to do as they’re asked.

“This school has been so good to my children, I wanted to help out. It’s just so important we get the kids back to school.”

Students returned in small, staggered groups to carry out their first sets of supervised tests in school, after which they will test themselves at home, as staff do, twice a week.

Deputy head Helen Keelan-Edwards said 40 volunteers, in addition to staff, were on site each day to help deliver the programme, getting through the 465 tests a day needed to enable students to return.

She said: “It has been absolutely amazing. – we can’t believe it. We’re really lucky with the parents we have and the support they give the school.”

And the head praised the maturity shown by students.