Leaders of all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities have welcomed the phased return to in-person learning and teaching announced by the First Minister this afternoon, in recognition of the detrimental impact of school closures on the wellbeing of children and young people.
Importantly Councils Leaders have agreed that the return must happen in such a way that staff are confident that education can be delivered safely.
Councillor Stephen McCabe. COSLA spokesperson for Children and Young People said:
“Councils have done an extraordinary job in providing remote learning for children and young people in the most difficult of circumstances. Whilst this provision has been significantly enhanced since March last year, we do know that it is no substitute for face to face learning. The impact of the pandemic on our children and young people should not be underestimated. The closure of schools will of course have a disproportionate impact on those from disadvantaged communities and that is why we welcome the phased return to in-school learning.”
COSLA have also endorsed the Scottish Government’s basis for the decision to return to school, which centres on factors including the rate of community transmission, evidence about the new variant, and the impact of loss of access to in person provision on educational outcomes.
Councillor McCabe continued:
“We know that our youngest children are hugely affected by not being in nursery and school and addressing this has to be a priority. At the same time those young people in the senior phase who cannot carry out practical work also need to be prioritised.
“We will work to ensure our staff, who continue to show their capacity to adapt to a shifting environment, are supported as they work in continuingly challenging circumstances.