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Schools: Education chief answers questions

THE intention is that schools will return as normal in August, but many questions remain for parents and pupils. In a bid to address some of them. Gilliam Brydson, pictured, Director of Skills, Education and Learning with Dumfries and Galloway Council, took part in a virtual question and answer session. The latest edition the council's free-to-download newsletter carried her responses. Will it be safe for my child to attend school? Our main priority is to look after your children's safety and wellbeing, and to ensure that they can continue to learn and make good progress. Anxieties are understandable and we will work with parents to build con dence. We are putting measures into place to make sure that pupils and staff are safe, follow good hygiene rules, and can stay a safe distance away from each other. The Scottish Government's decision to reopen schools is based on scientific evidence. This suggests that the virus is suf ciently under control to start planning for reopening, and that measures can be put in place to ensure it is as safe as possible. How do I contact my school? Although staff are not physically in school, they're all working. Use the school email address if you have a specific enquiry. The contact details for all our primary and secondary primary schools can be found on the council website. Why are children not going back sooner? The national decision on when schools in Scotland should return is based on the scienti c advice on the spread of Coronavirus and what is best for children. This advice may be different in other parts of the UK and because of this, schools may open at different times and in different ways in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Schools in different parts of the UK also have different term times and holiday periods, which means that children attend school at different times even under normal circumstances. Will the school look different? Exactly how this works will be different from school to school – your school is planning for this already, and will be in touch with you as soon as they can to let you know how it will work for your child, and which days they should come in. Other changes could include: • making changes to how or where pupils are dropped off and picked up • changing how people move around the school buildings • putting up signs and markers to ensure appropriate physical distancing • ensuring everyone washes their hands regularly • teaching in smaller groups • staggering lunch and break times • deep cleaning more frequently • holding more lessons outside where possible What are the council and schools doing to support transitions? Before schools return in August, children due to start P1 or S1 will be supported to start their new school. Local authorities and schools are working to provide virtual tours of schools, introductory videos, and information to help you and your child with this transition. Your child's school will be in touch with you once these arrangements are in place. How many children can be transported on a bus? We have 4,000 pupils who use bus or taxi transport on a normal day during term times. To meet current social distancing for example a 72-seater coach can only transport 10 people with social distancing of two metres maintained. This poses a great challenge in co-ordinating how we support parents to get their children to school. We will share our transport arrangements as soon as possible. How will transport arrangements change? We are working with all of our providers to ensure that social distancing and hygiene rules are followed on all transport. We are awaiting guidance from the Scottish Government con rming what the implications for transport are. Once we have more information on transport arrangements, we will share this. What support will there be for school leavers? This work is underway through our pastoral care teachers, the employability team and partners such as Skills Development Scotland. This is a high priority and it is our aim to ensure every school leaver has the offer of a positive destination. Any pupil who was planning to leave but no longer has a positive destination available due to the impact of Covid-19 should contact their school to explore the options available. My child is not returning to school and is now preparing for post school transition, what help is available to them? Skills Development Scotland has a range of supports in place to support young people who are leaving school to move onto the next stage of their learning, or into work. My child will be starting school in August and will be entitled to free school meals - how does this work? You can still apply for free school meals through our Council website at dumgal.gov.uk/schoolmenus Details will be provided shortly on the arrangements for lunches when children return to school in August. Information will be sent to parents and made available online. What meals will be provided when my child returns to school in August? Details will be provided shortly on the arrangements for lunches when children return to school in August. Information will be sent to parents and made available on the council website. My child is anxious about returning to school? What support is in place? Teachers will be doing everything they can to help pupils adjust to this situation, which will seem very strange at rst. Many pupils may be anxious about going back to school, and some may have experienced traumatic events during lockdown, so teachers will be extra sensitive to the mental health and wellbeing needs of all pupils. The rst few days after schools reopen are likely to be focused on welcoming pupils back and getting used to the new set up rather than lots of learning. To download the newsletter, see: https://supportdg.dumgal.gov.uk/communitybulletin

<< back Published: 26 Jun 2020, 14:48

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