Coronavirus (COVID-19): closure and re-opening of schools - children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment

This impact assessment considers the impacts to children’s rights and wellbeing (CRWIA) as a result of the closure of schools due to COVID-19, the plan to reopen schools full-time from August 2020, and the associated contingency of a blended learning model. 

CRWIA Stage 1
Screening - key questions

1. Name the policy, and describe its overall aims.

The reopening of schools as part of the COVID-19 recovery process in Scotland.

This policy aims to support a safe return to school for all children, young people and staff from 11 August 2020. This assessment considers only school settings, as ELC settings are being considered separately.

2. What aspects of the policy/measure will affect children and young people up to the age of 18?

The Articles of the UNCRC and the child wellbeing indicators under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 apply to all children and young people up to the age of 18, including non-citizen and undocumented children and young people.

All elements of this policy will affect children and young people[1] in Scotland who are registered at a local authority, independent or grant-aided school. They are generally between 5 and 18 years of age. The main considerations will be:

  • The impact of the closure of schools from March 2020*;
  • The impact of reopening schools in June 2020 for pupils to transition into P1/S1;
  • The impact of a full return to school in August 2020 for all pupils;
  • A contingency of blended learning in the event of future school closures.

* Due to the need for schools to close quickly it was not possible to proactively assess impact. This retrospective assessment is therefore to ensure completeness of understanding in relation to the impact, and to inform any future decision making should a similar event occur.

3. What likely impact – direct or indirect – will the policy/measure have on children and young people?

‘Direct’ impact refers to policies/measures where children and young people are directly affected by the proposed changes, e.g. in early years, education, child protection or looked after children (children in care). ‘Indirect’ impact refers to policies/measures that are not directly aimed at children but will have an impact on them. Examples include: welfare reforms, parental leave, housing supply, or local transport schemes.

The measures within this policy will all have a direct impact on all children and young people in Scotland who are registered at a local authority, independent or grant-aided school. The main themes to consider will be:

  • The impact of school closures on learning and development, and pupils’ health and wellbeing[2];
  • The impact of school closures for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils who may normally rely on school for support and continuity;
  • The impact of reopening schools on all groups of pupils, but particularly those who may be shielding due to their own health or that of a household member;
  • The impact of blended learning on pupils’ long-term learning, development and preparation for national qualifications;
  • The impact of blended learning on pupils’ wellbeing, recognising the compounding effect to wellbeing for those from a disadvantaged background.

4. Which groups of children and young people will be affected?

Under the UNCRC, ‘children’ can refer to: individual children, groups of children, or children in general. Some groups of children will relate to the groups with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. ‘Groups’ can also refer to children by age band or setting, or those who are eligible for special protection or assistance: e.g. preschool children, children in hospital, children in rural areas, looked after children, young people who offend, victims of abuse or exploitation, child migrants, or children living in poverty.

All groups of children and young people will be affected by this policy. Particular consideration will be given to some groups, including those:

  • with additional support needs who may not be receiving the additional support they usually receive whilst learning at home, and those learners who have shielded and/or have underlying health conditions;
  • vulnerable children and young people with an increased risk of experiencing domestic violence, physical abuse, and poorer mental health and wellbeing;
  • who experience disadvantage;
  • preparing for national qualifications, who will likely experience reduced classroom teaching in preparation for those qualifications.

5. Will this require a CRWIA?

Explain your reasons.

Yes. This policy area requires a CRWIA to be completed due to the impact of all areas of the policy on all children and young people in Scotland.

CRWIA Declaration

Tick relevant section, and complete the form.

CRWIA required


CRWIA not required


Policy lead

COVID-19 Education Recovery Group Secretariat



Deputy Director or equivalent

Sam Anson

Deputy Director for Improvement, Attainment & Wellbeing


29th July 2020



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