Breaking News – Pupils in wales to return to full time education in September

Kirsty Williams – Education Minister – has just announced that all schools will open on 1st September for all pupils, with schools having the option to initially prioritise entry for key year groups (Reception, years 7, 11, 12 as examples) for the first few days.

This announcement is subject to the continuing steady decline of positive COVID-19 cases. Kirsty stated:

  1. There will be limited social distancing

  2. Children will typically in contact groups of 30

  3. Social distancing guidance for adults should follow the general guidance at the time

  4. If there’s a local COVID-19 outbreak schools will conduct risk assessments with the LEAs

  5. If staff/pupils test positive the TTP system steps in

  6. Schools to have a stock of home testing kits for this eventuality

  7. Schools will have back up plans in case pupils need to return to remote learning

  8. Guidance for schools will be published Monday next week

  9. Logistical challenges will be addressed in the guidance

  10. Unions have been consulted and have an opportunity to feed into the guidance before it’s published on Monday

  11. Welsh Government are working with childcare groups to enable them to increase their contact group numbers

  12. Welsh Government will provide £29million funding to recruit the equivalent of 600 new teachers and 300 TAs

  13. This funding will be fairly distributed across Wales into school budgets

  14. An additional £5million will be provided to double resources relating to pupil mental health and wellbeing

  15. Welsh Government currently have a Whole School Framework Consultation regarding wellbeing

  16. Targeted support will be provided for disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, and pupils in years 11, 12, and 13

  17. This targeted support is to assist with reducing attainment gaps

  18. Minister states that parents should be confident in sending their children back as WG are following scientific advice

  19. TAG understanding of COVID-19 is that younger children don’t seem to be vectors for the disease

  20. International studies show that under 18s make up less than 2% of COVID-19 cases

  21. Minister advises it would be disingenuous to claim there is zero risk – it’s about mitigating risk

  22. Parents will initially not be fined if they choose not to send their children back – this could change in the future

  23. If a household has a high risk family member a family centred approach will be taken

  24. Guidance regarding vulnerability has been published by WG

Autistic UK will read the guidance once published to ensure the needs of pupils with Additional Learning Needs and Disabilities have been considered. Information regarding our ongoing work in this area can be found here.

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