Section 2 – Principles for reopening schools and ELC settings
To respond to this, we are working to enable as many children and young people as possible to return to education and care settings at the earliest date on which it is safe to do so. This can only be undertaken with careful planning and clear communication to pupils, parents, carers and staff to build confidence and assurance that the health and scientific advice justifies such a position.
Decisions made regarding the re-opening of schools and ELC provision must first and foremost be consistent with the national framework as described above. Thereafter, we will also continue to be guided by the agreed aims and objectives within the National Improvement Framework, including the shared vision of excellence and equity for education in Scotland, Curriculum for Excellence, Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and other legal requirements.
Combining these provides a set of five key guiding principles that are values-led and place the child at the centre of considerations:
1. Protects the physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of children and young people (this includes indirect harms through societal and economic effects) as well as all staff.
Fair and Ethical
2. Ensuring every child has the same opportunity to succeed through their blend of in-school and in-home learning, with a particular focus on closing the poverty related attainment gap.
3. Ability to prioritise learners at key points and/or with specific needs.
4. Is easy to interpret and understand, and has the confidence of parents, staff and young people so that they can plan ahead.
5. The options are both viable and effective at the level they're applied.
Any model of provision will inevitably incur a degree of trade-offs between some of these principles, and it would not be credible to attempt to satisfy them all in full simultaneously during this extraordinary time as we learn to live with the virus. Instead, it will be important to develop solutions that balance these as much as possible.