Posted on: Thursday 9 July 2020
Torfaen has today welcomed plans by the Education Minister to allow schools that can do so, to safely reopen from the first week of September, with all schools to reopen from September 14.
Local plans and preparations are underway between Torfaen and schools in the area to review risk assessments, processes and systems to ensure individual schools can welcome pupils back safely in line with Welsh Government guidance.
Schools which can do so will reopen from the first week of term. Some specific groups of learners might need to be prioritised during this week, such as Year 7, 12, 13 in secondary schools and Nursery / Reception classes and Year 6 in primary schools. Parents will receive more specific information from their school and the Local Authority as it becomes available.
From September 14, school attendance will be compulsory for all pupils – further advice for parents of children with medical needs will be available on the Local Authority’s website shortly.
Torfaen Education Service is working closely with schools to ensure they are ready for the safe return of all pupils in September. Work is underway to ensure transport, catering and cleaning arrangements are ready and more details of what this will look like for children will be shared in the coming weeks.
Welsh Government has also announced £29m to boost support for learners to minimise the impacts of the disruption due to the ongoing crisis. The equivalent of 600 extra teachers and 300 teaching assistants will be recruited across Wales throughout the next school year, targeting extra support at Years 11, 12 and 13, as well as disadvantaged and vulnerable learners of all ages. Torfaen will be working with schools to clarify the details.
Torfaen Executive Member for Education, Councillor Richard Clark said: “Over the last few months, many learners will have felt anxious about loss of learning and not being able to see their friends. I welcome the Minister’s plan to allow schools to safely welcome pupils back in September in line with all necessary safety measures and Welsh Government guidance.
“We know hard working staff in schools, learners and their families may well be under additional emotional, financial and psychological pressure during this incredibly challenging period. Torfaen continues to work closely with schools and settings to consider how best to support the ongoing well-being needs of all learners at this tough time.
“Pupils’ learning has been severely disrupted by the crisis. The £29m pledge by Welsh Government to recruit extra staff to support the recovery phase, minimise the impacts on pupils, and continue the ongoing work to raise school standards.”