Commenting on the proposed full reopening of primary schools and the return of exam-age secondary pupils in Wales on February March 15, Eithne Hughes, Director of ASCL Cymru, said:
“We obviously want to see schools open across Wales and it now appears logical to fully reopen our primary schools and for those in secondary education who would have faced important examinations this summer to return to the classroom. Our exam-age pupils in particular have suffered a difficult and distressing year of disruption and lost learning. The period leading up to assessment by their teachers is now extremely important for them to be able to demonstrate they fully deserve their grades.
“We welcome the Education Minister’s pledge that the next phase of reopening will be kept under review and will only go ahead if the science fully supports it to ensure education staff, the pupils and their parents have full confidence it is safe to return. We are also pleased that the Minister is giving further consideration to a rota system that would allow pupils to return in smaller numbers initially, reducing the risk of a spike in infection rates.
“It is now vitally important that parents and the wider community show their support for our schools by continuing to rigidly follow the lockdown restrictions on social mixing. Nobody wants to see schools having to close their doors again having collectively worked so hard to reopen them.
“We continue to believe that education staff, particularly those in secondary schools, need the confidence and reassurance that being prioritised for vaccination would give and urge the Minister to set out a clear timetable for this to happen as soon as possible.”