CHILDREN heading back to class for the first time in months were left confused and worried after they were faced with anti-school posters.

The “protest posters” which stated school was dangerous, had been put up outside Greenways Primary School, in Southend, and although they were swiftly removed by one parent, children were left worrying about whether they were safe from the virus at school.

Tina McLellan, a support worker and mum of two children aged five and six, from Southend, has been sending both of her children into school since the beginning of lockdown and had the utmost praise for Greenways Primary School.

The 38-year-old told the Echo: “Teachers are putting themselves at risk, looking after our children so we can go to work, and so we can keep the world turning.

“I can’t thank my children’s school enough - they have been amazing.

“I completely understand parents saying they don’t want them to go in and I am not trying to take that away from them. I have total respect for their decision.

“When we arrived to school there was these posters outside saying: ‘Say no to school it’s too dangerous’. I took them down. I think this it’s disgusting that anyone would do that as the kids can read them and it could scare them.”

She added: “The bit that hurts me, parents saying it’s too dangerous when our key workers haven’t had a choice.

“My children have been going into a classroom with children whose parents are dealing with the virus directly.

“It frustrates me because I don’t feel like the community is seeing that side.”

The Prime Minister made the decision to re-open schools for Reception children, Year 1 and Year 6, but it is not a legal requirement to send children back if parents don’t feel it is safe to do so.

Francesca Hall, 29, mum to Freddy, seven, who goes to Westborough School, in Westcliff, said: “There is no way I will be sending my son back for the sake of one month.

“Each to their own, and every family is different with different circumstances and different needs, but I think this pandemic is far from over.

“So to tell a child they can’t touch or cuddle each other, or see their classmates again, is just cruel.

“I get the need for kids to have their proper education again as home-schooling hasn’t been easy for the best of us, but I would much rather know that my child is safe from the virus at home.”

Teachers have been working tirelessly since lockdown began in March to accommodate the children of key workers, and a number of new measures have been put in place to ensure children are safe and happy throughout their return to school, including smaller classes, staggered break times and pick-ups, as well as extra hand washing.

James Day, 41, dad to Poppy, five, said: “We personally feel for our family, it is best not to send Poppy back to school purely based on her age.”

“She is too young to understand the ins and outs of the virus, and is far too young to be told off for cuddling her class mate. I can’t see how it is going to work for reception children.

“I can imagine it being quite terrifying for young children to go back to school - a place they see as a safe - but with so many changes and new rules in place.”