West Berkshire Council sent this bulletin at 01-09-2021 04:17 PM BST

Pupils in West Berkshire are beginning to return to schools and colleges after their summer breaks. Many pupils will be returning with far fewer restrictions than when they left for the summer holidays. This will enable pupils to have access to more group activities, team sports, playing with friends, plays, and taking part in musical groups.

What’s changed:

  • Keeping pupils or students in year group or classroom bubbles to reduce mixing is no longer a requirement.
  • Close contacts will now be identified via NHS Test and Trace. Education settings are no longer expected to undertake contact tracing.
  • Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas.

What stays the same:

  • Coronavirus hasn’t gone away so there will still be a need for schools, pupils and students to follow basic measures to avoid the spread of the virus:
  • Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of infection within schools.
  • Ensuring good hygiene including frequent and thorough hand cleaning and the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
  • Maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes.
  • Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated.
  • Following public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Find out more about what you need to know on going back to school.

New school in Newbury set to open

Newbury’s new primary school, Highwood Copse, welcomes it’s first pupils tomorrow.

The new £7.7m school will help meet the need for additional primary school places in the area, and will be run by Newbury College Academy Trust. It’s been built on the College campus and we’ve worked together with them to ensure the provision meets the needs of the local community.

Dominic Boeck, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:

“This is the day we’ve been waiting for. When the children arrive is when all the hopes and hard work come to fruition and become a lasting legacy of learning.”

Serraphina Robinson, Head of School, Highwood Copse Primary School, said:

“We’re so delighted that it’s now time for the children of Highwood Copse to enjoy their school. We’ve created a fantastic learning environment where they can become lifelong learners, adventuring down any path their ambitions take them.”

Holiday programme makes a splash

Our Holiday and Food Activities programme has been making a splash down at the Waterside Centre in Newbury and across the district.

The summer holiday programme has been providing a variety of fun activities for children including sports, music and arts as well as a nutritious meal each day. It’s been open to children aged 5 to 16 who are eligible for free school meals.

It’s been running at 28 schools across West Berkshire and, following a successful pilot at Easter has returned with even more activities – including kayaking at the Waterside Centre.

With schools returning this week the summer programme is coming to an end – but head over to YouTube to see children at Hungerford Primary School enjoying one of the activities.

School Streets pilot launches tomorrow

A Schools Streets pilot gets underway in Calcot tomorrow to improve children’s journeys to and from school.

In order to reduce congestion, improve air quality and make it both easier and safer to walk to school, vehicles will be unable to drive near Calcot Infant and Junior school at either end of the school day. It’s a pilot scheme which, if successful, could be rolled out to other schools across West Berkshire.

Elsewhere in the country Schools Streets projects have shown that traffic outside schools has reduced on average by 68%, children cycling to school has increased by 51% and harmful vehicle pollution outside schools was down by almost three-quarters.

Vehicles will be prohibited from driving down Curtis Road and Gatcombe Close, and Royal Avenue (Garston Avenue to 10m east of the Curtis Road junction). This will apply between 8.15am to 9.15am and 2.30pm to 3.30pm on weekdays.

Welcome Back Business Grants

Enborne Equestrian open day

The Welcome Back Business Grant scheme has continued to make an impact with two businesses using the grant to host events over the bank holiday weekend – giving a real boost to local footfall.

Enborne and Dawson Equestrian hosted a joint open day event to introduce more visitors to their riding school, showcase the local industry, and provide an entry point for young people who are interested in riding.

Great Grooms Hungerford hosted a three day ‘Welcome Back’ exhibition event displaying art and antiques to visitors.  

We also supported Crepe O’Clock to create a seating area for their customers in Newbury Market Place, which they hope will provide a new draw for daytime visitors.

Grant funding totalling more than £112,000 has been paid to 26 local businesses. These three businesses will receive over £12,000 overall in grant funding from the Council to re-open successfully this summer after the effects of the pandemic.

Upcoming vaccine clinics for West Berkshire

16 and 17-year-olds yet to receive their jab are invited to attend the NHS vaccine clinic from Wednesday 1 September to Saturday, 4 September at Northcroft Leisure Centre, Newbury, 10 am – 7 pm.  Attendees are advised to book an appointment beforehand or they can just turn up. Face coverings need to be worn (unless exempt).

People aged 16 and over NHS vaccine bus will be at the Falklands Cricket Club to give the Pfizer Covid-19 on Sunday, 5 September 11am – 5pm jab. No appointments are necessary. This is happening at the One Community Cricket and Family Fun Day event open to all.  Second dose can only be administered at least 8 weeks after your first dose. There will also be Community Collect pop-up site for you to pick up self-test kits for Covid and be shown how to use them.

One Community Cricket and Family Fun Day

The One Community Cricket and Family Fun Day will bring communities together through sport, food, and music on Sunday (5 September). There will be fun and games for young ones, provided by Berkshire Youth. The event will also feature a six-team cricket match (we’re one of the teams!), music from Kennet Radio and stalls offering tasty cuisines.

The free-entry event is being held from 11 am at the Wilson Carlisle Cricket Ground, Falkland Cricket Club, Newbury. 

Play the West Berkshire Lottery

Sign up and support your local community today and not only will you be in with the chance of winning weekly cash prizes up to the £25,000 jackpot, but also, if you enter before Saturday, 30 October, you have the chance to £1000 of John Lewis vouchers from the national draw!

West Berkshire Lottery is a fun way to help local good causes. Tickets are £1 in the weekly draw.  50% of your ticket is paid directly to the cause you choose to support with an additional 10% going to further support causes in our local community. 20% covers the prize fund and the remaining 20% covers the administration costs associated with running the lottery.

Since its launch the West Berkshire Lottery has raised nearly £160,000 for local charities and so far, more than 130 local groups have signed up.

To buy tickets go to

The draw is on 30 October and the results will be announced at 8pm on the lottery website.

And finally…

  • The Northcroft Lido closes on Sunday 5 September – thank you to everyone who has visited for a swim this summer season!
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