Lack of clarity for councils on school return exposed

Councils have described mixed messages from the Scottish Government on the return to school in August as ‘demotivating’.

At Parliament’s education committee, leader of Inverclyde Council and co-chair of Scotland's Education Recovery Group, councillor Stephen McCabe suggested councils were surprised to hear blended learning plans described by the government as a "contingency" this week, and that there may be "a bit of demotivation on the back of that”.

McCabe also said the 2 metre rule would make full time schooling “impossible”.

Scottish Green education spokesperson Ross Greer said: "Councillor McCabe is right that a full time return to school for every pupil simply isn’t possible with social distancing still in place, and that shouldn't change without compelling public health advice that it is safe to do so. The EIS is right there should be no compromise on safety, but councils can’t plan what they cannot afford.

“Ministers should stop pretending that a full-time return to school is achievable in a few weeks, especially when Scotland is not testing for COVID-19 nearly enough. Councils need to know what is expected of them but more importantly, they need to know what funding they are being given to deliver this. Without knowing their budgets councils cant recruit extra staff, hire and upgrade additional facilities or purchase additional resources.”