Schools will return full-time in August if Scotland continues to make progress on suppressing coronavirus (COVID-19), Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced today.
The moves comes after significant progress was made in reducing incidence rates of the virus, putting Scotland on a more positive trajectory than previously expected.
As a result, the Scottish Government has now made it a central planning assumption that pupils will return to class full-time in August. This is conditional on infection rates being sufficiently low to continue to control the virus, public health and testing systems being in place and protective measures and risk assessments being carried out in schools.
A new sub-group of the COVID-19 Advisory Group will monitor progress and provide further advice to Ministers shortly. The Education Recovery Group will also meet over the summer to oversee next steps.
Councils will continue to prepare blended learning models as a contingency and these will be scrutinised by Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education.
Mr Swinney also revealed that an additional £100 million will be invested over the next two years to tackle the impact of lockdown on schools and pupils, including ensuring every current probationer teacher who meets the standard for full registration having a teaching post for the year ahead.
Education Scotland will work with E-Sgoil, the digital training platform, to develop a national e-learning provision for all senior phase pupils to access high quality lessons online learning by qualified teachers. This is in addition to the investment of £25 million to provide tens of thousands of laptops for disadvantaged children and young people.
Commenting on today’s announcement from the Scottish Government that schools will return full-time in August, without distancing, if Scotland continues to make progress on suppressing the coronavirus – Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said:
“Thanks to the united effort of people here in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse Constituency, and across Scotland, who have stuck to government advice we have now made significant progress in the fight against COVID-19.
“I’m absolutely delighted by today’s announcement that if we stay on the right path, and continue to suppress this virus, our young people can return to school full time from August.
“This is an important step not only in ensuring our young people get the education they deserve, but it’s also positive news for working families.
“I want to send my gratitude to our amazing teachers and school staff in South Lanarkshire who have helped us get to this stage.
“There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but this SNP Scottish Government is working hard to support families and communities across the country.”