COVID-19 Education Recovery Group minutes: 11 March 2021

Minutes and papers from 11 March 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) 
  • Toni Andrews, Young Scot
  • Sam Anson, Deputy Director, Scottish Government 
  • Alan Armstrong, Education Scotland
  • Jane Brumpton, Chief Executive, Early Years Scotland 
  • Michael Chalmers, Director of Children and Families, Scottish Government 
  • Craig Clement, Education Scotland
  • Greg Dempster, General Secretary, Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) 
  • Craig Clement, Education Scotland
  • Sheena Devlin, Executive Director, Perth & Kinross Council (ADES) 
  • Larry Flanagan, General Secretary, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) 
  • Liam Fowley, Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Eddie Follan, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) 
  • Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive and Chief Inspector, Education Scotland   
  • Gillian Hamilton, Education Scotland
  • Carrie Lindsay, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), President 
  • Graeme Logan, Director of Learning, Scottish Government
  • Ben McKendrick, Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Janie McManus, Education Scotland
  • Elizabeth Morrison, Deputy Director, Scottish Government 
  • Ken Muir, Chief Executive, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) 
  • Fiona Robertson, Scottish Qualifications Authority
  • Pauline Stephen, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • Diane Stockton, Public Health Scotland
  • Matthew Sweeney, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)  
  • Jim Thewliss, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland (SLS) 
  • Dr Grace Vickers, Solace
  • Margaret Wilson, Chair, National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS)

Items and actions


Part I: 5 minutes

Welcome from DFM   

Minutes of previous meeting CERG 47 [Paper 1]   

Part II: 10 minutes     

Weekly feedback/ongoing monitoring    

  • MI data [Paper 2a]    
  • weekly feedback [Paper 2b]

Part III: 40 minutes    

Phase 2 - return to in-person learning

  • short verbal readout from Advisory Sub Group meeting on 9 March – Professor Carol Tannahill 
  • comms update [Paper 3] – SG 

Update from the Education Youth Recovery Panel – Young Scot

Part IV: 5 minutes     

AOB and next meeting on 18 March    




It is Ken Muir’s final meeting with CERG through his role with GTCS. Pauline Stephen to be a member of CERG going forward.


There has been an increase in COVID tests being taken by both 2-17 year olds and  the education workforce.
The number of cases of COVID-19 across Scotland has continued to fall overall, although there is a small increase in the number of cases amongst children aged 2‑7. 

Public Health Scotland confirmed that work continues to ensure consistency in incident management approaches across Scotland, and that data will be monitored cautiously at each stage of the return to in-school learning. 

Phase 2 of the return to in-school learning

The Deputy First Minister shared that the First Minister’s statement, later on 11 March, would confirm whether or not the planned return from 15 March would be able to go ahead. 

It was confirmed that a data working group has been established to support the work of the Advisory Sub-Group, which is focusing its work on two main themes; community transmission and monitoring of the new variant.

Several members shared views on the importance of monitoring each stage of the return, to ensure we are learning from each phase. It was also recognised that with testing in place across schools, data may be skewed in comparison to the autumn term.

It was also recognised that the education workforce, and headteachers in particular, are working hard to ensure each phase of the return can be implemented once confirmed.
Youth Recovery Panel

The group was introduced to three members of the Youth Recovery Panel, a group of 9-18 year olds created in November 2020. It was shared that key concerns raised by the group over time are emotional and wellbeing support, mental health, school safety measures and the importance of pupil voice. Feedback was positive about the work of the Panel and they were invited to remain in contact with CERG.

Next meeting: 18 March 2021

This to include carried over agenda items regarding communications and supporting wellbeing.

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