Parents’ group raises concerns over plans for pupils to return to school full time

A final decision on whether pupils can return to school full time is likely to be made at the end of next month.A final decision on whether pupils can return to school full time is likely to be made at the end of next month.
A final decision on whether pupils can return to school full time is likely to be made at the end of next month.
Parent campaign group 5050inschool has voiced concern about the lack of certainty about the new plans for a 100 per cent return to schools in August.

Having welcomed Education Secretary John Swinney’s announcement on Tuesday, it has emerged that there will be no final decision on this until July 30.

The proposals announced by Scottish Government set out the intention for a full time in-school return for the new academic year with no social distancing, instead of a previous plan for blended learning, with some time in school and working at home the rest of the week.

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Mr Swinney has stressed that a final decision on whether pupils can return to schools full time would likely be made in July, causing concern for parents wondering what exactly they can plan for mid-August in terms of school, home learning and returning to work.

Campaigners are asking parents to join a campaign for a minimum of 50 per cent in-school time, as well as a national standard of online, interactive blended learning.

5050inschool group member Sarah Chisnall said: “We welcomed the government’s announcement on Tuesday, but as we said at the time that our group’s concerns remain as valid as they were before the change of plans were announced.

“We are worried that what we heard from Mr Swinney, and also from the leader of the EIS Larry Flannagan, means that the guarantees about the amount of time our children will be in school and the plans for national best practice in at home learning will be needed more than ever.

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“This will only increase the concerns that parents. carers, teachers, and support staff will have about what will happen on August 11 or 12 and it is imperative that we these concerns are being heard and addressed by everyone who will influence the final decision.

“We are writing to John Swinney setting out our concerns.

“We are also sending him the questions we received from parents and carers during our virtual Q&A session held on Tuesday night (23 June) with a panel of cross party MSPs, and we will be asking for meetings with him and with the new education recovery group sub group.”

The organisation is also seeking meetings with the Association of Directors of Education (ADES), the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) and the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS).

Ms Chisnall added: “In the meantime, we encourage all parents and carers to write to their local councillors, council officials, MSPs and Ministers. Blended learning plans must be put in place and a guaranteed minimum of in-school time should be confirmed by schools as soon as possible.”

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