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Head of Highland education lays out plans for pupils return to school


By Louise Glen

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Nicky Grant.
Nicky Grant.

A plan for returning pupils to school has been issued by Highland Council in a letter to all families.

The letter outlines the plans for primary one to three, and confirms that pupils in primary four to seven should not expect to return to school before March 15 at the earliest.

The phased return to school notification from Nicky Grant, the local authority's executive chief officer for education and learning.

Ms Grant says she is writing to parents and carers following the first minister's statement to parliament, made yesterday Tuesday February 16.

She writes: "For primary schools, in most cases this means that all pupils in early learning centres (ELC) settings and in primary one to primary three

will return to school on Monday February 22.

"Pupils in primary four to seven will continue with remote learning and will not be returning to school yet.

"The Scottish Government hopes to be in a position in two weeks’ time to detail plans for their phase two of return to school of other primary-aged children but have said that it is unlikely that primary four to seven children will return before March 15 at the earliest."

However, she outlines that special permission has been made for schools with fewer than 25 pupils where all pupils are taught in one class in rural and island communities. She said: "In Highland schools like this, all pupils from primary one to seven will be able to return to school from February 22."

The current position for pupils in school-aged childcare settings will remain unchanged. Children and young people who have been attending school because their parents are key workers, or because they have been invited in by the school, will continue to attend as before the half term break.

Turning to secondary schools, she continued: "In secondary schools, only a small number of pupils from S4-S6, the Senior Phase,will be

returning to school from February 22, with all other pupils continuing with remote learning.

"The Scottish Government has asked schools to arrange for senior phase pupils to come into school only to carry out practical activities that are necessary to complete courses.

"Numbers should be kept as low as possible, because the key priority continues to be suppressing the Covid–19 virus. This means that there are many senior phase pupils who will not be returning to school at all just yet.

"Your school will be in touch with you to explain what plans are in place to allow some pupils to come in to school to complete these practical activities. Those pupils who are coming into school will only be attending for as long as necessary. This might only be for a single day or part of a day. They will otherwise continue with remote learning as before.

"Detailed arrangements will vary from school to school, because of differences in terms of school size, staffing and the courses on offer."

She continued: "The Scottish Government hopes to be in a position in two weeks’ time to detail plans for the return to school of other secondary-aged young people but have said that it is unlikely that this will happen before March 15 at the earliest."


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