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Our Approach

#508 Virtual Tour – Mile Cross Primary School

Eileen Maceachern, Senco, Mile Cross Primary School

What did we do?

We understand how important it is for children and their families to visit nursery and reception before starting school. Knowing what the classroom and teachers will be like alleviates potential anxiety and gives children something to look forward to. In ‘normal’ times, our staff visit families in their homes and welcome them into school for drop-in session – obviously we have not been able to do this during Covid.

When we were offered the chance to film a virtual tour of reception, this was an amazing opportunity to share our school with new children and parents in a safe way. We organised this for our nursery children too. The tour appears on the home page of our website and parents are signposted to it as part of our transition arrangements.

It’s vitally important that children have a successful start to school; the virtual tours have become an integral part of the arrangements we make to prepare children for this phase of their education.

The whole tour was useful to see the environment your child is going into – it was also nice to see new changes.

The tour was enjoyable and well set up. My son especially liked clicking on the circles.

He said he was excited and excited to see all the things he could play with.

She was generally very excited, she loved watching the tour, pointing at all the wall displays and answering question about what she could see.

I remember him getting excited when he saw the shark above the door and he said, “That’s my classroom mummy, I’m in shark class!”

Lots of ‘wows’ as he had never seen the inside of a school before.

Parents Feedback on the Virtual Tour.

Summary of impact

Having the virtual tour available on our website works really well for us. It’s obviously better if children and parents/carers can take part in a real tour, but this hasn’t always been possible. It’s reassuring for us that we can offer an alternative and we’ve had really positive feedback from families who have visited the site. Children can go back to the tour again and again, and it can be shown to others too, enabling our children to share their school experience with family and friends who may be geographically distant.

The pandemic has forced all schools and settings to change the way that transitions are supported. The virtual tours project has been one part of that change and taking part in it has prompted us to look more deeply at other ways that we can use online resources. For example, alongside the tour we are signposting parents to the NOA Preparing for School videos and to resources on the Just One Norfolk website.

Steps taken

We talked to Joe at ‘Insight’ about the filming process. We decided which members of staff and which parts of the school were to be included. We prepared the environment to make it look appealing, for example setting up the role play area, small world and construction areas so that children would get an idea of some of the activities they might enjoy as well as what the classroom looks like. We made sure that areas like toilets, pegs, and the snack table were clearly labelled. The tour also included the dinner hall, playground and early years outdoor area.

All early years staff were filmed introducing themselves to the children as well as the head teacher’s welcome outside the school.

Feedback from parents was very positive. Many of them watched it several times and it was felt that this was a really good preparation for starting school in the circumstances.
As staff have changed, further films have been created to keep the content current.

What would we do differently

Creating the tour was time consuming, but this was time well spent, since the tour gives a unique insight into school life at a time when we cannot welcome families into the classroom as we usually do.

All of our class teachers now film introductions for the families of children coming into their classes in September, which are shared on our YouTube channel.

It did take quite a lot of staff time preparing for the tour, but this was so worthwhile and we feel that the NOA investment in the tours was a really valuable one.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Virtual Tour - Magdalen Gates Primary

A team came in and worked with us to take high resolution 3 dimensional images and record videos with our Head and Reception teachers. We placed these on the front page of our website and were very pleased to be able to show our environment off to everyone.

Virtual Tour - Norwich Primary Academy

We were lucky to be chosen to have a virtual tour to support transition into our new reception cohort in September 2020 after lockdown number 1. We worked with Insight UK who produced the virtual tour for us.


Emily Jordan, Deputy Head Teacher

Mile Cross Primary School, 3 Brasier Road

Norwich, Norfolk