Thursday, 4 June 2020

Schools reopening should concentrate on how pupils have manged lockdown.

It is misleading to say that all schools in Wales will reopen on 29 June, the Welsh Government have sa as far as I can see 

Education Minister, Kirsty Williams announcdment  the return on Wednesday and confirmed that all pupils will attend but year groups will be split into three with staggered starts, breaks and lesson times so only a third of pupils will attend lessons at a given time.and the summer term has been extended by one week to 27 July, and the autumn half-term holiday will be stretched to two weeks  

As far as I can see means that most pupils  40 days left tp the holidays  a single pupil will receive only about  13 or 14 days of education.
Schools and councils will make their own decisions over managing the return.
Parents who choose not to send their children to school will not be fined and pupils who fall into the shielding category will carry on with online learning.
David Evans, from NEU Wales, said the measures were "too much, too soon" and there was "little or no consultation" over the additional week at the end of July.
Another union, the NASUWT, said the government did not have "good enough reasons for risking lives."
"The Welsh Government is well aware of the extreme difficulty of social distancing in schools, especially for younger children," said National Official Neil Butler.
"The minister has also admitted that this is for a 'check in' and 'catch up' so there is clearly no educational purpose behind this decision."
So it is basically a form of preparing pupils for the next term and might be aimed at those pupils who had not taken part in the Online facilities. it therfore may sevre as an exercise in finding out how nuch pupils had engaged online or if not why not?
But NAHT Cymru said it was its members' preferred plan, though the intention to get "all" children in "is more problematic", it said, preferring prioritising specific year groups.
Ms Williams said she was "surprised" by the unions' criticism and it was not helpful "to have inflammatory language".
Though she surley must have  liaised with the nions before making the decision.
"I would do nothing, and I have done nothing from this entire period when we closed schools for statutory purposes, to do anything to risk anybody's lives,"

Plaid's Shadow Education Minister warned that with the testing and tracing system still not fully operational in Wales and limited evidence on how the virus is transmitted, particularly between children and adults, the move was “rash” and said many parents and pupils would not be confident to return at the end of June.
Ms Gwenllian said: 
“This is the wrong call from the Education Minister. Sending children back to school at the end of June is too early.
“The Welsh Government’s testing and tracing program has only just begun, and we have limited evidence on how the virus transmits in our communities.  Many parents and children will not be confident it is safe to return to schools. This is a rash decision.
Arguing that schools should remain closed throughout June and July with a phased re-opening only if it safe to do so in mid-August, she added: “Refining and ramping up remote learning remains crucial to the plans for the phased re-opening of schools and ensuring that schools remain engaged with every pupil, so that no child is left behind. If we get distance learning right, then this allows us to continue educating our children in the safety of their home, even if we face another lockdown in winter.”
Since similar measures have been implemetesd by the English Education Miniser the Welsh Conservatives Shadow Minister for Education, Suzy Davies MS, naturaly broadly welcomed the announcement from Education Minister Kirsty Williams that schools in Wales are to reopen later this month but said:“…the Welsh Government must, as a matter of urgency, instil confidence in our teaching staff and parents that Covid-19 is under control.
She said: 
“It is important therefore that the Welsh Government dots the I’s and cross the T’s in how many adults in the schools hubs have been tested and with what results. We also need to be informed if there are plans for testing asymptomatic adults in schools.
“Huge questions remain, and they need to be addressed swiftly

To be fair  to Kirsty Williams she is to be "dammed if she does and dammed if she doesn't" , and the opposition parties have the luxary  of actting in this way.

But I think Ms Williams is probraly in error and should have emphasised that this is not so much a case of reopening Schools but reopening the Education process and is a means of finding out how oupils have used their time under lockdown and how it can be enhanced in the period before Schools reopen in some form of normalit and recognise that September is a target that might not be met. 

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