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Plans for re-opening of schools

Perth & Kinross Council is looking forward to welcoming back our children and young people to their schools from the start of the new term in August.

We recognise the many challenges families have been facing as they juggle childcare, supporting home learning and working from home. Our planning has focused on maximising the amount of time children and young people will spend in school, as frequently as possible, as safely as possible.

All primary and almost all secondary schools in Perth and Kinross have drawn up revised timetables that will ensure almost all children spend a minimum of 40% of the school week in class. Limiting the numbers who can attend each day will ensure all public health guidelines, including those around physical distancing and the need for additional cleaning, can be followed for the safety of all.

Each school has created its own timetable depending on a number of factors including capacity, pupil roll, staffing and transport.

Sheena Devlin, Executive Director of Perth & Kinross Council's Education and Children's Services, said: "Our aspiration has been to have children spending the maximum amount of time in school that is possible while ensuring the safety of pupils and staff is not compromised.

"All of our planning has been guided by the key principles identified by the Scottish Government that put our children and young people at the heart of consideration.

"All children will get high-quality teaching in school complemented by home learning, which is not solely dependent on digital access. Teachers will have time available to support home learning remotely and schools will communicate their individual arrangements with parents. The home learning offer, including our online remote learning hub, will support and enhance the in-school learning.

"To make sure schools can safely accommodate as many pupils as possible, they will, wherever possible, utilise other spaces and outdoor areas."

Schools will contact parents and carers directly about their individual plans before the end of the current school term.

The school day may look different, with staggered starts, breaks, lunch and finishing times.

Transport will also be subject to all safety and physical distancing guidance.

All children accessing local authority early learning and childcare can access 600 hours or more of ELC provision in most settings. We are currently working with Partner Provider Nurseries to finalise plans for the reopening of early learning and childcare in August. Further information will be available during July.

Ms Devlin added: "Schools re-opening is part of the Phase 3 exit of lockdown and we are aware this could mean more parents and carers may be returning to work.

"We appreciate how difficult these circumstances may be for many families. The re-opening of many childcare providers will increase childcare options for those who need it."

Plans may be modified as national guidance changes.

Ms Devlin said: "There are a large number of variables, including changes to national guidance, so arrangements may continue to change, perhaps at short notice.

"Schools will contact parents and carers directly to share all relevant information about their child's attendance and learning arrangements.

"I would, once again, like to thank everyone for their support and patience as we continue to develop our plans for re-opening our schools in August.

"We are looking forward to welcoming children back into our schools but are taking every precaution to ensure they, and our staff, are as safe as can be when they do return."