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Education Chair Welcomes Return Of More Pupils To Highland School Settings

3rd March 2021

The First Minister announced yesterday (2 March 2021) to the Scottish Parliament that all remaining primary school children are to return to school full-time from 15 March, with all secondary pupils returning in some form from the 15 March and until the 2 April.

Welcoming the announcement, Chair of the Education Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I am delighted that we can see the return of more of our pupils to school settings in the next couple of weeks.

“While we were anticipating the return of our P4 to P7 pupils and more of our Senior Phase pupils back into schools, the inclusion of our S1 to S3 pupils is a welcome surprise although we do clearly recognise the additional challenges this presents.

“We have been working towards detailed plans to accommodate the increase in numbers in our settings and I am confident that our schools will be able to establish detailed plans which take into account the number of pupils based on accommodation, safety, transport and other relevant judgements that support the national guidelines, prior to their safe return.

“I can appreciate that, given the diverse nature of our schools, this task will be easier to implement in some settings than others. However, the Scottish Government has provided local authorities with some flexibility and the implementation of our phased return will rightly be led by individual schools. This flexibility which supports local circumstances is clearly needed in Highland as we have over 200 schools of different sizes across both rural and urban areas covering a land mass bigger than the size of Belgium.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank each member of staff who has supported our delivery of Education to date and who are now involved in helping our pupils return safely to their schools, to our pupils for their continued resilience throughout the pandemic, and to our parents and carers for their ongoing understanding and patience. We will be providing more information very soon and each school will be in touch with parents and carers as they develop their own plans."

In addition to the full-time return of primary school children and part-time return of all secondary pupils, it is the Scottish Government's expectation that all secondary pupils will be back in school on a full-time basis following the Easter holidays.

Further guidance is to be made available from the Scottish Government to the Council, and subsequently an update to parents is expected early next week.

Visit www.highland.gov.uk/backtoschool for information, support and updates.

 

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