Eithne Hughes, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, comments on the Education Minister’s announcement that Covid measures will be scaled down.
“The Education Minister’s announcement that there will be a gradual reduction in the Covid protection measures in place in schools across Wales is welcomed and will hopefully give leaders the stability they need to ensure education does not suffer further disruption.
“We welcome the endorsement of the slow but steady approach we have been advocating, allowing schools to work towards bringing measures into line with the Welsh government’s operational framework after the February half-term break.
“We still have reservations about the effectiveness of the woolly measures in the framework itself, but schools are at least familiar with them and have great experience to fall back on in dealing with high levels of absence among both learners and staff.
“The Education Minister’s financial support for our exam-age learners is particularly welcome but there also needs to be a recognition that money alone cannot teach young people.
“They need the specialist knowledge and understanding that comes from being taught by their own teachers at this crucial time in their education and cannot get that if those teachers are absent from school and have to be replaced by supply teachers who do not have the relevant subject specialism. This was a significant problem during the course of last term.
“Schools need to be reassured that Qualifications Wales have made all possible adjustments and adaptations necessary to ensure that the summer exams reflect the efforts and ability of learners rather than the effects of the pandemic.”