Thursday, 30th July 2020
Guidelines published for a full-time return to school
Scottish Government confirmed today that all children and young people will be returning to school full-time from 11th August.
The decision, as stated in the announcement, was based on scientific advice. The number of coronavirus cases is very low so, at this time, the benefits to children and their families of returning to school outweigh the risks of the virus coming back. The plans for Blended Learning (a mix of learning in school and at home) are to remain as a contingency, in case there is a need to temporarily close schools in the future.
The announcement coincided with the publishing of guidelines for schools. These were created in collaboration with Scottish Government, local education authorities, teaching unions, professional organisations and the National Parent Forum of Scotland.
The guidelines for returning to school, in full, are available for the Scottish Government website here: [link].
A parent version is available from the National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) here: https://www.npfs.org.uk/2020/07/23/back-to-school-guidance-for-parents-and-carers/
In Scottish Parliament today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, said:
“It is a moral and educational imperative that we get children back to school as soon as is safely possible. In fact, a key reason for our cautious approach to lockdown easing over the past two months—and, indeed, over the next few weeks—is the determination to drive the virus down as low as possible and keep prevalence low so that schools can reopen safely in August.
“I am therefore very pleased to confirm today that schools will return from 11 August. Given how long children have been out of school, some local authorities may opt for a phased return over the first few days, but we expect all pupils to be at school full time from 18 August at the latest. “
Today our Chair, Joanna Murphy, said:
“These have been challenging times for all of us. Parents are worried about the effect this pandemic has had on our children and young people. The NPFS was pleased to be invited onto the Coronavirus Education Recovery Group (CERG), and we have been involved in several workstreams. We have worked hard to communicate the full variety of views from parents. Although parents sometimes disagree on the best approach and the decisions made, we all have the best interests of our children at heart.
“It will be good to return to a bit more normality, but we appreciate that many parents will be worried about their children returning to school. We all need to remember that and be sympathetic to one another’s circumstances.
“What is most important, is that we have high-quality educational provision that does not compromise the health and well-being of our children. The virus has not gone away so schools and local authorities must continue to put rigorous contingency plans in place to reduce the risk of our children’s education being compromised in the future and ensure that sustaining everyone’s health and well-being remains the key focus of all our efforts.”
*NOTES TO EDITORS*
The National Parent Forum of Scotland is a national body led by and for parents. Since its inception in 2009, it has undergone rapid development and is now an influential national and independent body, working on behalf of parents across Scotland to help every pre-school and school pupil maximise their potential.
The National Parent Forum of Scotland is comprised of one volunteer parent/carer representative from each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas. Please visit www.parentforumscotland.org for more details.
The National Parent Forum of Scotland represents parents and carers through parent councils, and we are involved in engagement at local and national levels of government to make sure that parents and carers have a full and equal voice in our children’s education.
We represent ALL parents and carers and we appreciate that there are a wide range of views and opinions on measures being put in place for going back to school and the plans for blended learning as a contingency in case future lockdowns are required. It is the view of the NPFS that the safety and wellbeing of our children is of paramount importance and we must adhere to Scottish Government guidance.
The NPFS has sat on the Education Recovery Group at the invitation of the Scottish Government and we have ensured that the mainstream views of parents and carers from all corners of Scotland have informed the consultation process.