ASCL comment on Education Minister’s announcement on return of some pupils to school in Wales

Eithne Hughes, Director of ASCL Cymru comments on the return to primary schools of the youngest pupils in Wales on 22 February.
Commenting on the return to primary schools of the youngest pupils in Wales on February 22, Eithne Hughes, Director of ASCL Cymru, said:
“Allowing the youngest pupils to return to the school environment that is so important to their development is a sensible first step towards seeing schools in Wales fully reopen. These pupils have limited access to remote teaching and also need the structure and social interaction that the school setting provides. The return for a small number of older learners on vocational courses is similarly welcomed.
“What is absolutely crucial is that pupils return in a way which is safe and sustainable, and which inspires the confidence of education staff and the public. The Minister’s warning about movements around schools is an important one and parents in particular must take heed of the fact restrictions on social mixing remain in place to ensure we do not return to a revolving door of schools opening and then having to close again. 
“We do remain concerned that, although the overall figures are positive, there are still parts of Wales with significantly higher rates of infection than others and urgent consideration should be given to a more nuanced approach to bringing pupils back in those areas.
“We continue to believe that education staff need the confidence and reassurance that being prioritised for vaccination would give and urge the government to set out a clear timetable for this to happen as soon as possible.
“This continues to be a very challenging time for all concerned, and we pay tribute to our education staff for all the work they are doing at this time to sustain educational provision.