COSLA Response to Deputy First Minister's Statement on Return to School
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Commenting on the Deputy First Minister's statement today (Tuesday) on the return to school, Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson said:

“Since the outbreak of the pandemic local authorities and their staff have reacted with speed and commitment to ensuring that children and young people get the support they need. From establishing critical childcare and hub provision for vulnerable children and the children of key workers to providing 170,000 free school meals school staff have made heroic efforts in very challenging circumstances.

“The safety of children, young people and staff has been the primary consideration as councils have prepared their local plans. These plans have been based on joint nationally agreed guidance and on preparing for a return to face to face education based on 2 metre distancing. All councils have developed their plans in line with the guidance and local circumstances.  We have always been clear that the blended learning approach is not one we would want to see in place for any longer than necessary.

“The news that the levels of the virus continue to move in the right direction is of course extremely positive. 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.

“Whilst there will be a number of considerations safety will remain the number one priority.

“As the term ends this week for the majority of councils I would like to thank all of our school staff for the tireless effort they have put in over the last three months in particular to continue the education and support of children and young people at this very difficult time.”