24 June 2020 02:36
Education Secretary John Swinney has bowed to pressure by announcing plans for a return to full-time schooling in August. In a major u-turn, as revealed by the Daily Record, Swinney said schools should prepare to go back on this basis if progress continues to be made in suppressing the virus. After a revolt by parents, who believed the plans would damage their children's education, Sturgeon appeared to contradict Swinney by describing part time learning as a contingency. "We will work with the Scottish Government, our Local Government partners, trade unions, parent organisations and children and young people representatives to consider the implications and practicalities of a full time return for pupils in August." "Once again Mr Swinney had nothing to say to these workers and offers nothing to protect their safety while they try and make schools as safe as possible for the return of teachers and pupils. "We're pleased that the Scottish Government has acknowledged that children are concerned about their mental health and we're delighted John Swinney has listened to the concerns of parents, teachers and pupils across Scotland.
Schools could return full-time in August, John Swinney announces Deputy First Minister John Swinney has announced that schools will return to full-time classroom learning in August, as long as Scotland stays "on track" and continues to suppress the spread of coronavirus. The move has been labelled "a screeching U-turn" by the Scottish Tories, since the Scottish Government's initial plan was for schools to return on 11 August with a 'blended learning' approach mixing face-to-face teaching with home schooling, which Swinney had previously suggested could last for the whole school year. The planned return will be conditional "on infection rates being sufficiently low to continue to control the virus, public health and testing systems being in place and protective measures and risk assessments being carried out in schools", Swinney said. Swinney said returning to full-time schooling would "enhance the life chances of our children and young people and start to reverse any damaging impacts of recent months". Scottish Tory shadow education secretary Jamie Greene said the plan signaled a "screeching U-turn from the SNP government".
John Swinney has announced that pupils in Scotland will likely return to school in Scotland full-time in a shocking u-turn announced live from the parliament today. The Deputy First Minister also announced plans to scrap physical distancing between pupils, if the virus continues to be suppressed. Edinburgh City Council announced that under the social distancing guidelines set out by the Scottish Government they would only be able to send pupils back for 33 percent of the time. Talking live from the parliament John Swinney announced that due to "significant progress" pupils would likely be able to return "full-time in August." John Swinney said: "We want Scotland's children back in school full-time as soon as possible and as soon as it is safe to do so He said that because of the sustained "downward trend" in COVID-19 in Scotland it was likely that pupils would be able to return to education "full-time" in August. He said: "If we stay on track, if we all continue to do what is right, and if we can further suppress this terrible virus, the Government believes that we should prepare for children to be able to return to school full-time in August.
Today, Mr Swinney said plans for the blended schooling model were announced when the "outlook on coronavirus was bleak" with around 20,000 infectious cases across Scotland. The SNP minister - who announced a £100million investment over the next two years to tackle the impact of lockdown on schools and pupils - said blended learning would remain a "contingency that we may still need to enact" if there is an increase in infection rates or "outbreaks that require action to control". And asked by Scottish Greens education spokesman Ross Greer if school staff would be regularly tested after the summer, Mr Swinney said: "I'm very supportive of that because I recognise the importance of building confidence in the teaching profession about their own safety." Last night Larry Flanagan, general secretary of teaching union the EIS, said it would be a "grave mistake" to believe the virus gone away, and insisted "appropriate mitigations must be in place to protect staff and pupils and prevent flare-ups either in terms of localised resurgence in infection or even a full second wave". He said: "This means looking at measures already being used elsewhere such as mandatory face coverings, protective perspex shields, proactive testing of teachers and an appropriate level of physical distancing between pupils and most certainly between pupils and staff." Stephen McCabe, children and young people spokesman for council umbrella group Cosla, said: "The Deputy First Minister's statement that the planning assumption will now be for a full return in August if it is safe to do so is of course a significant change in direction. "We will work with the Scottish Government, our local government partners, trade unions, parent organisations and children and young people representatives to consider the implications and practicalities of a full time return for pupils in August. Schools in Scotland reopening fully on 11 August as John Swinney announces major change in coronavirus policy Education Secretary John Swinney told MSPs that Scotland's 'significant' progress in suppressing the virus had made a full restart possible Children across Scotland have been told to prepare to return to school full-time in less than seven weeks, after a major change in policy was announced by ministers. Under new plans announced on Tuesday, schools are now set to reopen to pupils on 11 August, with no social distancing or home learning required. But in an unexpected announcement, Education Secretary John Swinney told MSPs that Scotland's "significant" progress in suppressing the virus had made a full restart possible. Only 10 days ago he said home schooling was likely to have to continue for the duration of the next academic year, with no return to normality until 2021. Mr Swinney said schools would only reopen if it was definitely safe to do so and outlined three tests that would have to be met before the 11 August date could be confirmed. These are infection rates remaining low, an effective "early warning" testing regime being in place and sufficient protective measures for teachers and other school staff. Mr Swinney said that since May, when the initial school plans were published, the number of infectious people in Scotland had dropped by around 90 per cent. The Education Secretary also said it was "possible" that by the time schools return in August, Scotland will have reached phase four of its lockdown exit strategy.