Not business as usual when schools enter next phase says local MS

Bridgend MS Carwyn Jones has said that school pupils will be going to back to a different classroom experience when schools re-open their doors to pupils from the 29th June. Earlier this month, the Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced that schools would be re-opening at the end of the month to enable pupils to ‘Check in, Catch Up and Prepare’ for summer and September’ in the next phase for education. It will be an opportunity to use the last weeks of the summer term to make sure pupils, staff and parents are prepared – mentally, emotionally and practically – for the ‘new normal’ in September. Mr Jones has welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement. It means learners have much-needed contact time with their teachers before the summer holidays. Without it, most pupils would face six months or more out of the classroom.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales has endorsed the Welsh Government’s proposals and the Minister for Education has been clear that if the science changes, or the R rate or admissions increase, then the decision to reopen to all pupils will be reconsidered. The health and wellbeing of learners and the school workforce is the Welsh Government’s first priority.

The school environment will be very different for the foreseeable future than it was before going into lockdown. Indeed, when the schools reopen it won’t be business as usual. The expectation is that a maximum of a third of pupils will be in school at any one time, and many schools will see less than that. There will be staggered arrival times, breaks and finishes. There will be much smaller classes when learners are at school combined with online lessons when they are not (known as ‘blended learning’). Any child or member of staff who is shielding will not be expected to return, and parents will not be fined for keeping their children at home during the upcoming four-week period.

The Welsh Government has published a suite of operational guidance to support schools. This will include information on managing their facilities: including buildings, resources, cleaning and transport. Here is the link to the guidance:

*Bridgend County Borough Council has confirmed that all schools will close for the 2020 summer break on Friday 17 July. The ‘Check In, Catch Up and Prepare’ sessions recently announced by Welsh Government will be provided within a three-week timetable, with each participating pupil receiving two full days’ support*