Coronavirus (COVID 19): Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues

Group to provide advice to support and inform the development of operational guidance for providers of learning, childcare and children’s services.


The Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group was established in recognition of the need for additional scientific analysis of the impact of COVID-19 in Scotland, based on regularly updated advice and modelling from the UK SAGE, and other emerging scientific evidence. The COVID-19 Advisory Group has operated effectively and will retain its existing remit. 

A need has now been identified to increase capacity and capability to provide rapid, regular and more granular scientific advice on education and children’s issues to support the iterative development of guidance as we move through the four phases set out in the routemap

To ensure consistency of advice, a sub-group of the COVID-19 Advisory Group will be created: the Scientific Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues (“the sub-group”). This will be a time-limited, expert sub-group, chaired by Professor Carol Tannahill, Chief Social Policy Adviser to the Scottish Government.

The sub-group will begin with a focussed remit, covering all issues affecting early learning centres and schools, and linked children’s services issues, but not higher and further education settings. 

The sub-group will give detailed consideration of how public health advice can be applied to operational implementation. It will support Scottish Ministers and relevant Scottish Government senior officials to: 

  • interpret SAGE and COVID-19 Advisory Group outputs, and other emerging scientific and public health evidence, in relation to education and children’s issues in the context of Scotland
  • provide expert advice spanning the disciplines of public health, clinic advice, behavioural sciences and statistical modelling, combined with expertise in education, early learning and development, and children’s services
  • advise Scottish Government, relevant Directorates, and ASD colleagues on strategic approach to identifying, accessing and using data to support our understanding of managing Covid-19 risks in educational, early learning and children’s services settings
  • provide advice to support and inform the development of iterative operational guidance for providers of learning, childcare and children’s services
  • develop links with other SG COVID-19 Advisory sub-groups, as appropriate

The Chair of the sub-group on education and children’s issues will sit on the COVID-19 Advisory Group as a full member, to ensure links are maintained and work is developing in line with their advice. And the COVID-19 Advisory Group will provide a short comment/endorsement of sub-group advice before it is shared with Ministers.

The group will meet virtually once every fortnight for two hours.

Members are selected to enable scientific and public health advice to be brought to bear on operational questions, and therefore members include scientific and public health experts, clinicians and academics, as well as experts in education, early learning and children’s services.

Membership will be kept under review.


  • Professor Linda Bauld, Interim Chief Social Policy Adviser, SG (chair)
  • Catherine Agnew, Care Inspectorate
  • Professor Marion Bain, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, SG
  • Professor Chris Chapman, University of Glasgow
  • Iona Colvin, Chief Social Work Adviser, SG
  • Professor Brigid Daniel, Professor Emerita, Queen Margaret University
  • Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland, SG
  • Professor Paul Flowers, University of Strathclyde
  • Gayle Gorman, Education Scotland
  • Mrs Gaenor Hardy, Headteacher, Heathfield Primary School, Ayr
  • Dona Milne, Director of Public Health, Lothian
  • Professor Ian Rivers, University of Strathclyde
  • Dr Eileen Scott, Public Health Scotland
  • Professor Devi Sridhar, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Diane Stockton, Public Health Scotland




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