NAHT Cymru comments on announcement of possible wider return for schools in March

Commenting as Welsh Government announces the possibility of more children returning to schools in Wales from 15 March, Laura Doel, director of NAHT Cymru, said:

“Welsh Government is right to say that it is considering a return for KS2 and some secondary pupils only if the public health situation continues to improve. This absolutely has to be the case. We need to be able to assess the impact of the foundation phase return before making any firm commitments.

“It is important that we continue to be guided by the science rather than getting stuck on one particular arbitrary date. We all want to see all children back in school as soon as it is safe, but that return has to be sustainable, with a proper plan to minimise continued disruption to children’s education going forward.

“Schools are already facing significant operational challenges in bringing back foundation phase next week, and more work will need to be done on the advice issued by government to make sure the safety measures schools need to take to welcome back more learners are clear. At the moment, certain aspects of the operational guidance on measures such as bubbles, face covering, social distancing are vague at best.

“Schools are doing all they can to reassure staff and parents of the measures they are taking to support the wider reopening, but we need to look at the impact of foundation phase return before thinking of extending the onsite provision further. The government will also have to put effort into reassuring families that it is safe to send their children back to school – there is a confidence test the government must pass to make the return a success.”