Parents across East Renfrewshire will this week learn more details about their children's return to school in August.
Published: 22 June 2020
Schools will begin contacting parents from tomorrow (Tues) with more information about the blended model of education which will be provided after the summer holidays.
Pupils will return to schools and nurseries on Wednesday 12 August for a combination of learning both in school and at home.
This blended approach aligns with the latest Scottish Government guidance and its route map for safely emerging from coronavirus lockdown and, of course, adheres to the need for physical distancing in schools.
The council stresses these are contingency plans and that if social distancing is relaxed over the summer then the amount of learning in school will be increased. Whilst head teachers have been drawing up plans based on the current 2m guidance, they also have alternative plans based on 1m social distancing which can be swiftly implemented if national guidance is changed.
Our initial plan is to have all primary and nursery-age pupils in school for at least two days a week, either Mondays and Tuesdays or Thursdays and Fridays. Secondary pupils will attend school for at least five half-days a week, in a combination of mornings and afternoons.
Details of which pupils will attend when will be available when schools start contacting parents from tomorrow. The council also plans to increase in-school learning time within a few weeks of the August return, as long as national guidelines allow for this.
The popularity of East Renfrewshire's top-performing schools has posed significant challenges in drawing up plans for our pupils returning in August.
The council is continuing to explore a range of options to ensure there is enough space to safely accommodate our pupils and staff whilst adhering to social distancing measures. These include increased outdoor learning, the use of portable buildings and the use of suitable non-education council and non-council buildings. This will be in addition to maximising existing space within schools. Work on all of these options will continue over the summer holidays and parents will be informed of any changes relevant to their children's schooling. Director of Education Mhairi Shaw has delayed her planned retirement to lead the council's school recovery plans.
Councillor Paul O'Kane, Convener for Education and Equalities said: 'East Renfrewshire Council is acutely aware of the challenges pupils and parents have faced in continuing young people's education during coronavirus lockdown measures. I can assure everyone a huge amount of effort has been put in by staff to provide remote learning and in drawing up the plans for pupils returning to schools in August. The safety of our young people and staff has been our top priority and individual schools will start contacting parents from tomorrow to share more details with them on what their children will be doing after the summer holidays. East Renfrewshire has a long track record in educational excellence and innovation and we have used all of that experience to draw up these plans in consultation with our Parent Councils and trade union partners. The blended learning model we have adopted allows for a further increase in learning in schools within a few weeks of the August return and our plans can also be swiftly adapted to take account of any changes in the current 2m social distancing rules.'
East Renfrewshire Council has also confirmed plans for the children of key workers to be cared for five days a week from August. These children will also be supported over the summer holidays.
More information on this and on all our August school plans is available on our website, including our Frequently Asked Questions.