COVID-19 Education Recovery Group minutes: 22 October 2020

Minutes and papers from 22 October 2020 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) 
  • Marie Todd MSP, Minister for Children and Young People 
  • Sam Anson, Deputy Director, Scottish Government 
  • Simon Mair, Deputy Director, Scottish Government 
  • Tim Wallace, Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) 
  • Sheena Devlin, Executive Director, Perth and Kinross Council (ADES) 
  • Larry Flanagan, General Secretary, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) 
  • Eddie Follan, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) 
  • John Gallacher, Regional Manager (UNISON)  
  • Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive and Chief Inspector, Education Scotland 
  • Carrie Lindsay, President, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) 
  • Ken Muir, Chief Executive, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) 
  • Karen Reid, Perth and Kinross Council, Director of Education 
  • Diane Stockton, Public Health Scotland 
  • Jim Thewliss, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland (SLS) 
  • Jane Brumpton, Chief Executive, Early Years Scotland   
  • Janie McManus, Strategic Director, Education Scotland 
  • Margaret Wilson, Chair, National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) 

Items and actions


The DFM welcomed the group to the 29th meeting of the CERG and thanked Professor Marion Bain, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for her attendance on behalf of the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues.  

Ongoing monitoring

There was a regular update on the management information data, with reference to the weekly infographic and dashboard, highlighting current COVID-related data in relation to children and young people and their associated workforce from week 42. Members were keen to have this information published following the meeting to allow this evidence to share with their wider networks.  

Stocktake on schools guidance

Latest scientific advice from the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues

Professor Marion Bain, Deputy Chief Medical Officer gave a presentation to the group on the latest advice of the sub-group. The advice was reviewed on the back of the request from the First Minister for all government policy areas to review advice/guidance in the context of new scientific research evidence and increasing transmission of the virus. Each piece of advice was considered, i.e., should it be maintained, strengthened or augmented and all updated advice will be reflected in the new schools guidance due to be published on 30 October.

Guidance updates/enhanced interventions 

The group were provided with the latest version of the draft schools guidance and a supporting paper on enhanced interventions, highlighting the levels sitting within the broader strategic framework for all aspects of daily life and designed to keep the virus suppressed and to minimise the broader harms of the crisis, which will also be reflected in the new safe schools guidance. The Scottish Government approach is that schools remain safe, open, and welcoming. Mitigations relating to other sectors and wider society are being established across the Strategic Framework to ensure that we can continue to protect and prioritise the interests of children and young people. Through CERG discussions in recent weeks, steps are also being taken to ensure that our Reducing Risk in Schools guidance is as comprehensive as it can be across all levels. 

Members were notified that changes will be made to the guidance and a further iteration will be shared with them for comment in due course. 

Next meeting: 29 October 2020

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