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D&G education chief will write to parents over reopening of schools

SCHOOLS across Scotland aim to be fully open with no physical distancing on August 11 if Coronavirus continues to be suppressed. After education secretary and deputy first minister John Swinney announced the news, Gillian Brydson, pictured – Director of Skills, Education and Learning with Dumfries and Galloway Council – took to social media. She said that Mr Swinney had promised "further information" and once that was made available, she pledged to write to parents and carers "by the end of the week Schools had been preparing to return from lockdown with a "blended model" of face-to-face teaching and at-home learning. But Mr Swinney said "significant progress" had been made in controlling the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Official figures put the total number of confirmed cases in Dumfries and Galloway at 285, though Health Protection Scotland says this will be an underestimate as not all cases will be tested and not all people with the virus will display symptoms. Mr Swinney was accused by political opponents of U-turning, having previously indicated pupils should spend at least half their time physically in the classroom. That led to concerns from some parents who said that after weeks of home-schooling, part-time schooling was not good enough and risked damage to children's education. Last night the Unison union said safety was the key concern. Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said: “This is a significant about turn which, given the lack of scientific evidence available at this stage, seems to be driven more by politics than by safety. “The safety of staff and pupils must be paramount and any return to school must be led by the scientific evidence at that time and be dependent on crucial risk assessments to ensure everyone's safety. “Education budgets were already squeezed before the pandemic hit. While the Scottish Government's pledge of £100m over the next two years to support children with their lost learning is to be welcomed, schools also face increased practical costs to implement the required safety measures. "It is vital the Scottish Government steps up and provides local authorities with the additional funding urgently needed to ensure that schools can open safely whenever science shows the time is right.”

<< back Published: 23 Jun 2020, 20:16

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