COVID-19 Education Recovery Group minutes: 15 July 2021

Minutes from 15 July 2021 meeting of the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group.

Attendees and apologies


  • Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills (Chair)  
  • Councillor Stephen McCabe, Children and Young People spokesperson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) (co-Chair)
  • Sam Anson, Deputy Director, Scottish Government 
  • David Belsey, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) 
  • Beth Black, Scottish Qualifications Authority
  • Craig Clement, Education Scotland 
  • Linz Connell, National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) 
  • Sheena Devlin, Executive Director, Perth and Kinross Council (ADES) 
  • Eddie Follan, CoSLA
  • Liam Fowley MSYP, Scottish Youth Parliament
  • John Gallacher, UNISON 
  • Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive and Chief Inspector, Education Scotland   
  • Carrie Lindsay, President, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) 
  • Ben McKendrick, Scottish Youth Parliament 
  • Janie McManus, Education Scotland
  • Gillian Middleton, Early Years Scotland 
  • Diane Stockton, Public Health Scotland
  • Jim Thewliss, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland (SLS) 
  • Tim Wallace, Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) 
  • Professor Carol Tannahill, Chair of Advisory Sub Group on Education and Children’s Issues, 
  • Professor Devi Sridhar, University of Edinburgh, Member of Advisory Sub Group


  • Clare Haughey MSP
  • Jane Brumpton (Gillian Middleton attending)
  • Greg Dempster (Tim Wallace attending)
  • Andy Drought
  • Larry Flanagan (David Belsey attending)
  • Gillian Hamilton
  • Graeme Logan
  • Fiona Robertson (Beth Black attending)
  • Pauline Stephen
  • Grace Vickers

Items and actions


The Cabinet Secretary welcomed everyone to the meeting. The agenda had two main items for substantive discussion: an update from the Advisory Subgroup, and a discussion of the draft Education Recovery Strategy. Cllr McCabe welcomed the members of the Advisory Sub group and stated how helpful it would be to hear from the group directly on these key issues.

Minutes of previous meeting 

The minutes were approved

Standing Items 


Members received weekly statistical reports (non-school related data during summer holidays).

The data is published at COVID-19 Education Recovery Group: children and young people infographic 

Feedback from CERG 

The feedback paper was noted.

Update from the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues

The meeting received a presentation from Professor Carol Tannahill. The Advisory Sub Group were looking at issues in line with the revised Strategic Framework and the four identified harms. They were considering how to bring together and balance the range of issues known to have affected children with the aim to support attendance in schools and recovery in wider society. Schools will begin the new term with mitigations in place as they were at the end of term in June, until advised to remove them. 

Feedback and questions included how proposed measures for schools would relate to those being proposed in wider society, and it was also reiterated that schools are workplace environments for staff.  In relation to the strategy for wider Strategic Framework for ongoing management of the pandemic, clarity was sought on what can be expected on the anticipated level of tolerance of virus transmissions/case in society and risks/handling strategies for any future new variants. The importance of clear communication and messaging was noted. 

The Advisory Sub group will offer advice in due course on timing of easing and the shift to baseline mitigations based on monitoring effects of school return, any new evidence, and coherence with wider strategy.

Update on the education recovery strategy

Members offered feedback on a working draft of the strategy for education recovery. It was agreed that it was very important to maintain the partnership approach that was currently working extremely well and the members were asked for further comments to be submitted by correspondence to the CERG Secretariat. 

Any other business 

No other business.

Next meeting   

The next meeting date: Thursday 29 July

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