Strategic Framework for re-opening schools, early learning and childcare provision

Date: 9th June 2020

The Scottish Government have released a document outlining the strategic framework for re-opening schools in August 2020. This document is lengthy and covers a lot of the different considerations that are being made, so we have highlighted a few key points from it to help you prepare for what the re-opening of schools might look like for you and your family.

Firstly it is important to note that all plans to open schools, early learning and childcare provisions are subject to meeting two key requirements;

  1. Scientific and medical evidence deems it safe
  2. The Scottish Government are satisfied with the effectiveness of the public heath measure that have been put in place

Schools will not re-open unless these requirements are met. The plan at the moment is for staff to return to schools at some point in June in order to plan and prepare for the new term and make the necessary adjustments within their school.

Schools across Scotland will universally start on Tuesday 11th August. In some cases this will mean an earlier start date, if this is the case in your area your local authority will work out when this missed holiday can be taken later in the year. From this date pupils can expect a blended learning experience of in-school and in-home learning. The proportion of pupils in school at any one time will very much depend on the facilities of the school to allow for the 2 meter distancing between pupils.

It is widely acknowledged that for all children and young people, regardless of age or additional support needs, the closure of schools and the ongoing Covid-19 crisis will have impacted on their well-being and mental health. This will be taken into account and inform the learning that takes place in the early part of the school term.

Each local authority, and indeed each school within that local authority, are currently working on what the adjustments will look like for them, you can expect communications from your child’s school regarding the specific changes they are making. But in general terms some of the changes you can expect are:

  • Teaching in smaller groups, with a degree of rotation/alternation
  • Where practicable, minimising the mixing of such groups
  • Seating positions being reorganised so that pupils are a safe distance apart
  • Increased use of outdoor spaces
  • Staggered arrival and departure times and clear guidance to parents to avoid congregating in playground areas
  • Breaks being staggered by class, to avoid pupils from different classes coming into contact where possible
  • Considering whether teachers, rather than pupils, should move round classes where practicable
  • Changes to dining provision
  • Enhanced hygiene practices
  • The utilisation of other school/local authority buildings for teaching

Throughout all of this there is additional consideration for children with additional support needs, both in mainstream environments and in ASN specific environments. Whether the learning is taking place at home or in school additional consideration will be given to the specific needs each child with additional support needs. Special schools should be making many of the same changes as mainstream primary and secondary schools. They may need to think about the potential of increased needs for support as a consequence of disrupted learning, for example behavioural support as a result of increased distress. This may mean there is a need for increased numbers of appropriately trained staff and the identification of spaces in schools which can be used to support distressed children.

You can read the full document here.

As mentioned above you should receive communications from your child’s school before August about what adjustments they are making. If you have any concerns about returning to school please get in touch with our Family Support Service Team by calling our helpline on 0300 030 2121 or emailing