Sisters excited for the big return to school after six months at home

"We're really excited to see our friends and get back to normal at school."

Sisters Aditi and Anisha Mandal from Tettenhall have been getting ready to return to school after missing nearly six months due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

They will return to Woodthorne Primary School in Tettenhall on Wednesday, September 2, with 10-year-old Aditi starting year six and nine-year-old Anisha preparing for year five.

Despite having missed so much school time, Aditi said they have been able to keep learning during the summer.

She said: "We've done a lot of home-schooling during lockdown, with the school giving us lots of homework to do, although they stopped doing it in the summer.

Aditi and Anisha with dad Anand, mum Kasturi and two-year-old sister Anushka

"I'm about to do my 11-plus exam for Wolverhampton Girls High, so I've been doing a lot of mock exams, and I've had a tutor as well.

"We've both been able to do other things as well, such as art and putting on performances and dances, and we've been getting robotics lessons, coding on a microbit."

Anisha said the time at home had helped her bond with the rest of the family more and spoke about lockdown.

She said: "It was more exciting and better than I thought it would be, but I'm also sad because I haven't been able to see my friends as much as I would have liked.

"I'm looking forward to seeing my teacher as well because she went off for a year and now she's coming back.

"I missed so much of year four as well, but I'm looking forward to getting started in year five."

Sisters Aditi and Anisha Mandal

Both girls said they had been able to keep in contact with friends through Facetime and online, with a couple of visits to homes and meet-ups on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Anisha said she was looking forward to doing English lessons again, while Aditi said there wasn't one subject she could pick, but just looked forward to everything.

Aditi said: "It's sad that we've missed as much time as we have, but I feel we're as ready as we can be to go back and we're both excited to do so.

"I know a few people will be nervous, but there will be way more who are excited to go back and we would say to them to just go for it and enjoy yourself."

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Their parents Kasturi and Anand have had to adapt to having three children at home during lockdown, with two-year-old also at home.

Kasturi, who is a doctor at New Cross Hospital and had previously had Covid-19 along with Anand, spoke about her feelings about her girls going back to school.

She said: "I've got mixed feelings because, obviously, you are nervous, but you also know that they have missed so much school this year and its got to restart at some point.

"I think it is a good place to start right where we are with infection rates as, redoubtably, they will go up a little bit, but I think it is as good a time as any as you can't postpone forever."

"They've both learned a lot of new things and had different experiences, but I know they've dearly missed school and that social interaction, so it'll good for them to get that interaction back."

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