Plans for safe return of pupils to schools in August

Detailed arrangements are being put in place by the City of Edinburgh Council to ensure the safest return possible for pupils and staff when schools reopen in August.

Following the announcement by the Scottish Government last month, all pupils will return on Wednesday 11 August, a week earlier than programmed.

In accordance with national guidance, social distancing, hygiene regimes and risk assessments will be essential to keep children and staff safe, with the result that not all children will be able to return to school at the same time.

As such, schools are planning that 33% of their pupils will be in school at any one time. Every pupil will have a mix of teaching in school and learning at home and the days they attend will be determined by their school.

Teaching will take place from Mondays to Thursdays with all children attending for whole day and Fridays used by staff to support home learning. Limited key worker childcare support will continue throughout the week including Fridays during normal school hours.

Nursery and primary children will be grouped together to enable family members to attend school on the same days. In secondary schools, pupils will be grouped together either by year group or family group depending on the individual arrangements made by their school.

Pupils at special schools will be in for 50% of the week with the majority offering two full days in school and the rest as home learning.

Individual schools will be in direct contact with parents/carers to let them know final details of the arrangements for pupils.

Education Convener, Councillor Ian Perry, said:

“The past three months have been very challenging for the world of education and I want to thank parents, carers and staff in our schools who continue to support our children with home learning and keyworker learning and childcare.

“The health and wellbeing of our children, young people and staff has been at the forefront of our planning for their return to their schools in August. We believe these plans represent the safest return to school as possible for them and in a way that best supports the quality of their learning and their safety.

“We are making sure the guidance and advice from both Health Protection Scotland and Scottish Government is being strictly followed when it comes to social distancing, hygiene regimes and risk assessments – it’s essential that we keep our children and staff safe.

“This new blended model is an improvement on the current home learning arrangements, and I want to reassure parents that where possible we review, refine and improve our approach so we can maximise the proportion of in-school learning.”

Education Vice Convener, Cllr Alison Dickie, said:

“School recovery lies at the heart of helping our city back on its feet, and I want to begin with a thank you to our teachers and parents and especially the wonderful children and young people of our city.

“This has been an unprecedented time for all of them and I am acutely aware of those who already faced challenges on a daily basis, and to whom school is at times a haven. They are at the heart of our plans.

“Children and young people have missed their teachers, and their teachers them.  They have missed their friends and the inspiring and holistic learning environments of our modern classrooms. It’s important too that we build on the home aspect of our blended learning, so that our children feel fully connected and supported.

“Lockdown has also reminded us that learning is wider than just the classroom, and this is an opportunity to realise the full potential of community learning.  From our youth workers and After School Clubs, to a range of third partners and community organisations, all have a part to play in this recovery process.”

As schools are starting a week earlier than planned, the summer holidays in 2021 will begin one week earlier, with the school year finishing on Friday 25 June.

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