COVID-19 Education Recovery Group minutes: 29 April 2021

Minutes from 29 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 
  • Jane Brumpton, Chief Executive, Early Years Scotland 
  • Craig Clement, Education Scotland
  • Greg Dempster, Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) 
  • Sheena Devlin, Executive Director, Perth & Kinross Council (ADES) 
  • Andrew Drought, Deputy Director, Scottish Government
  • Larry Flanagan, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
  • Eddie Follan, 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 for Learning, Scottish Government
  • Janie McManus, Education Scotland
  • Elizabeth Morrison, Deputy Director, Scottish Government
  • Kay Sillars, UNISON
  • Pauline Stephen, GTCS
  • Diane Stockton, Public Health Scotland
  • Jim Thewliss, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland (SLS) 
  • Grace Vickers, SOLACE
  • Margaret Wilson, Chair, National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS)

Items and actions


Public Health Scotland shared an update on data from across Scotland. This showed a continuing decline in cases across the general population. Cases also decreased amongst primary school pupils, but increased slightly for secondary school pupils. This is also reflected in the increased uptake of asymptomatic testing for secondary pupils. 

Feedback from CERG members

There was discussion around the mitigating measures in place in schools, and the variety of opinions from the sector on their impact. It was highlighted that mitigating measures, such as face coverings and asymptomatic testing, provide reassurance to many parents, pupils and members of the workforce. Conversely, there are some groups who are keen to return to ‘normal’ school life as soon as possible. 
The impact of the alternative certification model and the collection of Curriculum for Excellence data was raised, with awareness of the impact on the education workforce, and the need to balance this work with recovery efforts. It was also noted that strong teaching and learning contributes to wellbeing for children and young people, and should not be decoupled from recovery. 

Asymptomatic testing in schools

It was confirmed that the distribution of testing kits to schools is going well, however the number of tests being taken is not as high as expected. This may be due to lack of clarity when recording results, particularly negative ones, as well as the number of tests being taken. Officials are working with Young Scot to ensure appropriate messaging reaches young people. 

Next meeting: 12 May 2021

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