Headteachers are confident their schools are safe for the return of students in September when social distancing will be eased further.

Staff are busily planning for a return to school for all students after the summer break following months of home learning and some teaching in the classroom.

Senior leaders are adamant their classrooms are safe.

In line with Government guidance, each year group will have their own bubble, rather than the class per bubble proposal originally touted last month.

Southend’s schools have been issued with guidance from Southend Council urging heads to discuss the re-opening with parents.

Jason Carey, head at Southend High School for Girls, said discussions were already under way.

He said the school introduced different entry and exit points to minimise movement around the site.

He said: “Our Year 10 and Year 12 students have been excellent so far. We’re so proud of them.

“We’re giving each year their own area of the school. We’ll make it really special for them.

“We’re making sure they have toilets per area and a zone for breaks. We will manage the staggered lunchtimes.

“We’re lucky in that we have a large site. Everyone will be kept separate. It’s all gone well so far and we’re confident everyone will be safe.”

Mike Skelley, head of Westcliff High School for Boys, has yet to decide on specific measures, adding: “We will most likely be having separate entry and exits and hand sanitisers across the site. We’re considering a range of measures at the moment. We will also stagger the lunchtime and break times.

“Having the Year 10s and year 12s back has really helped. All our students are really excited to be back.”

Brin Martin, Southend Council’s director of learning, said: “We welcome the return to schools and settings and reiterate the critical importance and benefits that education provides for all of our young people.

“We fully support school leaders towards a full and rapid return to a new normal as soon as possible.

“The council has established a multi-agency group of professionals to provide schools with whatever support we are able to, offering advice, guidance, and what resources we can to support all settings.”