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Council statement following Scottish Government announcement on reopening of schools

Posted: 24th June 2020

Education Leaders at the City of Edinburgh Council have welcomed the news that schools may be back full time in August with no physical distancing measures in place.

The Scottish Government Education Secretary John Swinney made the announcement this afternoon (Tuesday 23 June) when addressing the Scottish Parliament.

He said that schools should expect to reopen to all pupils in August without any physical distancing measures in place if the suppression of the Coronavirus continues.

The Council will continue to make contingency arrangements and today submitted its plans for blended learning to the Scottish Government.

Councillor Ian Perry, Education Convener, said:

“This is obviously welcome news and will come as a great relief to all parents and carers across the city. We will make sure we’re doing everything possible to ensure our schools are safe to reopen by following the most up to date Government and Health Protection Scotland advice.

“Obviously the major caveat to this announcement is that the suppression of Coronavirus has to stay on track. That’s why it’s so important we make sure we have robust plans for schools reopening in August with the blended model of learning that may be required.

“Our schools and other Council teams have been working tirelessly on these plans for many weeks and I want to thank them for all their efforts. We submitted our plans to the Scottish Government today and we will continue our dialogue with them over any additional funding that may still be required.

“I really hope that the virus continues to be suppressed and our contingency plans are not required. However, if they are needed, then I am confident the detailed plans we are proposing demonstrate our commitment to ensuring the best teaching and learning for all pupils across the whole city.”

Cllr Alison Dickie, Education Vice Convener, said:

“I know parents will be delighted to hear the announcement that schools should be planning for 100% reopening as the past few months have put a terrible strain on family life, with many juggling work commitments and home learning.

“Ultimately though, I’m pleased for the children and young people themselves, particularly those who have already faced challenges in their daily lives and to whom school is a haven. This has been a particularly difficult time for them, and that’s why it’s important that the wellbeing of all our children be placed at the heart of their education on their return.

“Of course we need to have robust contingency plans in place and our plan has always been never to compromise on the quality of learning and teaching and to deliver it in a safe and equitable way.

“Everyone will continue working to achieve the same goal of getting every child and young person back to school where they belong and our detailed preparations for anything other than a 100% school return will continue over the summer.

“We will of course continue to communicate with parents as we move forward together and keep them updated over the summer.”

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