Head teachers will be getting in touch with parents and carers across Argyll and Bute today (Friday) to let them know what the council’s proposed plans are for children and young people returning to school in August.
The plans, whilst subject to change depending on government advice, will see the majority of primary schools in the area adopting an 2:1:2 approach, where one group of pupils attend school on a Monday and Tuesday, and a second group of children attend Thursday and Friday. On the days that children do not physically attend school they will engage in home learning activities provided by the teaching staff (blended learning).
Across our secondary schools two main models will be used. These are 50:50 where Broad General Education (BGE) pupils will attend school one week, and senior phase pupils will go the next. On the days when children are not physically in the school building, they will be supplied with digital learning materials to continue blended learning. The second model is the 2:1:2 approach, used mainly by the area’s 3-18 campuses.
The council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “Keeping our pupils and staff safe is the council’s number one priority. Argyll and Bute has a diverse geography and, with a total of 88 schools of various sizes and building types, it hasn’t been easy putting plans into place. However, our dedicated education team has worked tirelessly to get these models ready to ensure they are the best for our young people, whilst maximising face-to-face teaching and also meeting national guidance set out by the Scottish Government.
“I completely understand that this is an anxious and worrying time for parents and pupils - we have never experienced anything like this in our lifetime. I want to reassure parents, however, that these models have been created with the safety and wellbeing of our pupils and staff at their heart.
“We remain committed to providing our children and young people with a positive learning environment where they feel safe and nurtured, and I believe that these models reflect that.
“These are extremely difficult times for everyone but we are all in this together and, as lockdown eases, these plans may be subject to change. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and understanding.”
When developing models head teachers factored in:
Capacity of their school buildings using the current 2m social distancing rule.
Workforce capacity taking account of staff who are currently ‘shielding’ (staying at home) because they are most at risk if they become infected with coronavirus.
Funding eg current budget, use of Pupil Equity Funding (PEF), to support expanding the school estate and providing digital resources.
Time for teachers to prepare digital learning materials required for home learning.