Schools and childcare settings
When will schools reopen?
Teachers and other school staff may now return to schools to make arrangements for a new way forward and the new term is due to begin on 11 August 2020, with a combination of teaching in school and home learning. We will review the position on schools as part of the regular review of COVID-19 restrictions with a view to enabling as much face to face teaching time as possible.
How will you ensure schools are safe and maintain social distancing?
Schools will only re-open on two conditions - when the scientific and medical advice says it’s safe to, and when appropriate public health measures are in place. All this is in place for staff returning to school in June and risk assessments will be conducted to ensure the right measures are put in place to keep people safe.
Which ages/year groups will be prioritised?
All pupils will be part of the return to school from August.
How many pupils will there be per class?
The number of pupils per class will depend on the size of individual classrooms and requirements for physical distancing. Schools will provide parents with information ahead of a return to the classroom in August.
How will distance learning work long-term? Will teaching staff be expected to deliver face-to-face and distance learning?
Education Recovery Group (ERG) partners have developed guidance to support teachers/practitioners prepare their approach to learning ahead of, and during, the Recovery Phase. It provides high level national guidance and clarity on the broad expectations for what Scotland’s curriculum looks like during this time across school sectors, including Gaelic Medium Education, and early learning and childcare.
Approaches will be developed locally by Early Learning and Childcare and schools, taking account of local circumstances of children and their families. We expect there to be a mix of teaching in educational settings and remote learning for pupils at home.
Education Scotland supports local authorities and teachers to ensure learning continues, including via Glow, our digital learning platform. Education Scotland has launched ‘Scotland Learns’ with weekly support for teachers and for parents, including activities that children can do on their own at home and families can do together.
How will vulnerable children be supported going forward? Will there be increased mental health support, IT provision, etc?
Schools are a lifeline for our vulnerable children, as they have been throughout this pandemic. Through the Education Recovery Group (ERG), we will support schools to continue to provide high-quality education and support for the emotional and social wellbeing of all pupils, which is so important as we adapt to a different way of working.
Because digital learning will be key to getting children back learning, we’re spending £30 million on measures to pupils online: what is often called ‘digital inclusion’. As part of that, we’re investing £9 million in 25,000 free laptops or tablets – with internet access – for disadvantaged children to help their learning outside school.
When will nurseries/early learning and childcare reopen – both private and local authority run?
We have not yet confirmed a specific date for reopening indoor early learning and childcare and school age childcare provision, beyond the critical childcare being provided for keyworkers and vulnerable children. It is expected that this will happen in Phase Three of the recovery.
From 3 June 2020, child minding services and fully outdoor nursery services have been able to increase their operations although capacity will be limited. Both will be subject to increased hygiene measures, small group working and physical distancing of adults. Critical childcare will continue for key worker and vulnerable children.
What if people are unable to do their job without childcare, how will you ensure they are supported?
Keyworkers who require childcare are currently able to access critical childcare in line with the published guidance.
Non-essential workplaces should remain closed until the relevant Phase in the route map. Even if your workplace is open, if you are able to work from home then please continue to do so. We still want as many people as possible to work from home at this point.
We can only re-open childcare provision more widely when it is safe to do so. We are asking employers to be flexible with employees who are currently looking after children at home. Childcare provisions and guidance will remain under constant review as we progress through the route map. Members of extended households can provide informal childcare.
Enforcing physical distancing in childcare for under-fives will be impossible won’t it?
We are realistic about the challenges of physical distancing, especially amongst children and vulnerable people.
Age and circumstance-appropriate guidance is being developed based on scientific and public health advice. We expect this to include looking at smaller group settings, maximising the use of outdoor space, and drop-off/pick-up points. We are also looking at what steps other countries are taking.
Will you introduce a phased return, e.g. certain classes attend on certain days?
If health guidance allows, the new term will begin for all pupils and staff on 11 August 2020, with a combination of teaching in school and home learning but it will be for schools to decide how best to do this depending on their individual situations.
What about out of school care, will that restart when schools return?
We can only re-open childcare provision more widely when it is safe to do so. We have not yet confirmed a timeline for reopening school age childcare provision. School age childcare services will be advised by the Scottish Government and Care Inspectorate when it is safe to prepare for reopening.
Will hub schools be expanded?
Hub provision will remain in place at the moment and run for key workers over the summer, and local authorities continue to make provisions based on needs.