Edinburgh schools: Council update parents on when pupils will return to class

Pupils in the Capital are set to return a week earlier than planned and will finish on 25 June 2021.

Kids across Edinburgh are set to return to schools on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, council chiefs have announced

Three months ago classrooms in the Capital were closed as the nation went into lockdown to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak and they have remained shut ever since.

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The council said arrangements were being put in place to ensure national guidance was being followed including physical distancing of 2 metres and strict hygiene regimes to protect children and teachers as schools reopen.

Stock Image. Many chools have been closed since 20 March. Picture: John Devlin.Stock Image. Many chools have been closed since 20 March. Picture: John Devlin.
Stock Image. Many chools have been closed since 20 March. Picture: John Devlin.

Beleaguered mums and dads in the Capital had threatened to bring legal action against Edinburgh City Council for its decision to have pupils in school for an average of 1.3 days a week from August.

Under steps announced by the council in the middle of June, most school pupils in the city will be in school for one day a week with a second day on every third week. Previous plans would see just 33 per cent of a school’s roll attend school on any one day.

Now further measures are being explored to ensure 50 per cent classroom attendance is hit by August. These include:

- Loooking at all spaces within our schools and in other venues

- Encouraging and supporting schools to use outdoor learning as much as possible

- Talking to the Scottish Government about additional resources

- Planning for changes, like a reduction in the 2m rule.

Edinburgh parents were told to expect their child’s headteacher to be in contact before June 26 to inform them of when their child will be in school.

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Councillor Ian Perry, Education Convener, said: "Parents have of course many questions about the plans being put in place for the safe reopening of schools and these latest updates will help address some of the queries raised around areas such as PPE, physical distancing and blended learning.

"One of the most common issues being discussed is around increasing the numbers of pupils we can get back in schools as safely as possible. I want to reassure parents that everyone in the Council is working flat out to achieve this. We’re exploring every possible avenue by looking at appropriate building capacity in the city including using other venues, employing more teachers and maximising outdoor learning opportunities.

"Two of the significant challenges we face are the current health guidelines for the 2 metre physical distancing rule and the unique situation Edinburgh has with our rising school rolls. There’s no doubt in my mind that reducing the 2 metre rule would make reaching the 50 per cent target a lot more achievable.”

Cllr Alison Dickie, Education Vice Convener, said: “We fully understand parents’ concerns and although this is an ever-changing situation, it is important that we communicate with parents as we move forward together. There is still more work to be done to deliver 50 per cent attendance but everyone is working to achieve the same goal of getting every child and young person back to school where they belong.”

Today Scotland’s Education Secretary John Swinney is expected to make an emergency statement on the Scottish Government’s plans to return kids to the classroom.

Mr Swinney will address increasing concerns from parents over the "blended learning" approach he has been working on with local authorities, which would have been set to see pupils renter schools on August 11.

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