COVID-19 Education Recovery Group minutes: 1 April 2021

Minutes from 1 April 2021 meeting of the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group.

Attendees and apologies


  • John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills (Chair)  
  • Councillor Stephen McCabe, Children and Young People spokesperson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) 
  • Sam Anson, Deputy Director, Scottish Government 
  • Jean Blair, Scottish Qualifications Authority 
  • Craig Clement, Education Scotland
  • Alison Cumming, Interim Director of Early Learning and Childcare, Scottish Government
  • Greg Dempster, Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) 
  • Sheena Devlin, Executive Director, Perth and Kinross Council (ADES) 
  • Andy Drought, Deputy Director, Scottish Government
  • Larry Flanagan, General Secretary, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) 
  • Liam Fowley, Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Eddie Follan, CoSLA
  • John Gallacher, UNISON 
  • Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive and Chief Inspector, Education Scotland   
  • Gillian Hamilton, Education Scotland
  • Graeme Logan, Director of Learning, Scottish Government
  • Ben McKendrick, Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Janie McManus, Education Scotland
  • Pauline Stephen, Chief Executive, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) 
  • Kay Sillars, UNISON 
  • Pauline Stephen, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • Diane Stockton, Public Health Scotland
  • Matthew Sweeney, CoSLA 
  • Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Children and Young People
  • Jim Thewliss, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland (SLS) 
  • Margaret Wilson, Chair, National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS)
  • Mick Wilson, Deputy Director, Scottish Government


  • Jane Brumpton, Chief Executive, Early Years Scotland
  • Fiona Robertson, Scottish Qualifications Authority
  • Carrie Lindsay, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), President

Items and actions


Public Health Scotland colleagues updated the group on the very high uptake of Covid vaccines across Scotland. We are also seeing a significant increase in the number of tests being taken by pupils in the P4-P7 age bracket, however the test positivity rate has gone down. 

The number of adults working in education with a positive COVID test remains steady across the country, although an outbreak in Clackmannanshire skews the data from that area. 

Feedback from CERG members

Concerns were raised about the impact of the Alternative Certification Model on ASN pupils, and it was shared that prelims and timetables are causing some stress amongst young people and parents. It was also recognised that while the NQ21 group have made collaborative decisions, it will be important that schools follow guidance and do not use prelims as an alternative to exams. It was suggested that further communications are planned to support schools, young people and parents following the Easter break.

There were also concerns raised about the impact of temporary contracts on newly and recently qualified teaching staff, and the long-term impact of this on education recovery. 

Next meeting: 8 April 2021

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