ASCL comment on plan for youngest pupils to return to schools in Wales

29/01/2021
Eithne Hughes, Director of ASCL Cymru, comments on the announcement that the youngest pupils may return to primary schools in Wales following the February half-term holiday.
 
Commenting on the announcement that the youngest pupils may return to primary schools in Wales following the February half-term holiday, Eithne Hughes, Director of ASCL Cymru, said:
 
“We obviously want to see schools open across Wales as soon as possible and allowing the very youngest pupils to return to the school environment that is so important to their development is a sensible first step. These pupils have limited access to remote teaching and also need the structure and social interaction that the school setting provides. However, the science around the rate of infection needs to be robust and fully supportive of this course of action before pupils are welcomed back.
 
“What is crucial is that pupils return in a way which is safe and sustainable, and which inspires the confidence of education staff and the public. It is therefore important that the operational guidance for schools is updated quickly so that the necessary practical arrangements can be put in place.
 
“Education staff should be prioritised for vaccination as soon as possible to provide them with the confidence and reassurance they need and a clear timetable should be set out for this to happen.
 
“It is also important to recognise that our schools are in fact open right now and are providing face-to-face teaching for many vulnerable children and the children of key workers while also providing high-quality remote education for millions of pupils who are working from home.
 
“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.”