Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advanced Learning Recovery Group minutes - 28 May 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 28 May 2021.

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

  • the Chair (Katherine Peskett – Director of Advanced Learning & Science) welcomed all to the first meeting of the group

  • the key purpose of the group is to work towards a safe resumption of activity on campus, balanced with the need to guard against the spread of the virus

  • this group will build on the work of the Ministerial Leadership Group, meaning that the group’s work will not be starting from scratch. The group will be expected to work at pace, with the bulk of work undertaken inbetween meetings of the group (using existing groups, etc. where possible)
  • members of the group should be able to express views in a frank and constructive way, whilst respecting the confidential nature of some of the material likely to be shared. New ideas and innovative thinking are encouraged
  • there is scope to involve others in the work of the group, particularly in work taking place in between group meetings

Draft remit and terms of reference

  • the group expressed broad agreement on the draft Terms of Reference (TOR), with some further work required on the opening paragraphs

  • it was also felt that the TOR should capture ensuring the best possible student experience and quality of education as an aim

  • members noted that sectoral guidance includes guidance from other sources such as Community Learning Development and schools. The hope of the sector is that there could be a singular approach
  • the Chair confirmed the purpose of the group is to build on the existing guidance and advise ministers on future iterations of the guidance
  • the group also agreed that Public Health Scotland and SG COVID-19 Analysis colleagues should be invited to future meetings of the group. With the former invited to each meeting, and the latter to every other meeting

Public health context: Diane Stockton, Chief Officer: Education Recovery and COVID-19 Vaccination Surveillance, Public Health Scotland

  • PHS provided an update on the course of the virus, covering positive tests across age cohorts, vaccination levels, effectiveness, updates on new variants

COVID-19 modelling and projections: SG COVID-19 Analysis Division

  • the presentation summarised reports on ‘modelling the epidemic’ and ‘state of the epidemic’ published weekly by the Scottish Government. They provide a high level summary of what we know in Scotland each week

Available here:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): modelling the epidemic - (

Coronavirus (COVID-19): state of the epidemic - (

In discussion, the following points were made:

  • the challenge of local data in providing a picture of staff and students travelling widely across the country
  • the challenge of planning now for a return due in August/September e.g. data availability
  • the need to consider the potential impact of ‘long covid’, including addressing limited data
  • the value in having data on levels of infection amongst staff, including those working through the summer
  • the importance of being able to communicate clearly, including to staff, what the data sets out
  • the need for proactive comms from institutions, etc to encourage under 30s to register for vaccination appointment information in the window available
  • helpful for group members to indicate where modelling work can help with the work of the group

Comments on draft workplan – Craig Robertson, SG Deputy Director

  • Craig Robertson – Summarised the workplan and encouraged input from the group

AOB and end of meeting

  • Katherine Peskett brought the meeting to a close
  • further information about the next meeting will follow


  • with input from group members, SG to produce revised text of the ToR with a view to it being agreed in full at the next meeting

  • group Secretariat to ensure that future meeting invitations are sent to PHS and SG COVID-19 Analysis

  • group members to provide thoughts (particularly on sequencing; additional issues; offers to be involved in workstreams) on the draft workplan ahead of the next meeting of the group
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