Two-day school week for some Scots pupils after August return, MSPs told

Some Scots pupils could be back in school for just two days a week when the new term gets underway in August, MSPs have heard.

Juniper Green Primary School is one of the hubs in Edinburgh being used for key worker children to attend

Education Secretary John Swinney admitted that some pupils may have more "face to face" time with teachers in the classroom than others when the new "blended" schooling model gets underway.

And although schools are planning to hold national exams next year following the cancellation of this year's diet, Mr Swinney admitted that this is still not guaranteed as he appeared before Holyrood’s education committee today.

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The physical distancing required in schools to suppress the spread of COVID-19 means that not all youngsters will be able to return at the same time when schools go back. The resultant "blended" approach will see pupils attend in "part-time" blocks.

John Swinney says some pupils will have more "face to face" time in schools than others

Tory education spokesman Jamie Greene told the Education Secretary today: "Looking at some of the plans I'm seeing from local councils - some are proposing as few as two days per week attendance in school in August and beyond for some pupils."

He questioned whether this was a "justified and proportionate" response given the low rates of infection among under 15s.

Mr Swinney said he wanted to see the amount of time pupils spend in school being "as close to 50%" of the week as it can be.

But he added: "I accept in some circumstances that will not be possible."

Mr Swinney went on: "That will vary around the country because there will be varying levels of school occupancy.

"Given the variation in school occupancy, there will be schools in the country that will be able to offer more face to face schooling and more time in school for young people than others."

Pupils will be taught at home when not in the classroom through remote schooling, with employers being widely encouraged to let staff work from home to assist for child-minding purposes.

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