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by Jenni Davidson
28 April 2020
‘Inconceivable’ that all pupils would return to school on the same day, John Swinney says

John Swinney - Image credit: Scottish government flickr

‘Inconceivable’ that all pupils would return to school on the same day, John Swinney says

It is “inconceivable” that all pupils in Scotland would return to school on the same day, John Swinney has said.

The education secretary told the BBC there would have to be a “phased” return to allow for social distancing.

One possibility would be split classes, with some pupils using classrooms in the morning and others in the afternoon.

He said: "The idea that schools will be reconvening and all pupils will be back at the same time on the same day is not a circumstance I can envisage any time soon.

"There is clearly disruption to the learning of young people right now and we need to find the most effective way to bring school communities back together again and to make sure that formal learning can be revived.

"What we have to look at is how we might bring schools back on a phased basis with different groups of pupils coming back at different times, or changes to the school day to accommodate different groupings of individual pupils."

Meanwhile, Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee has announced that it will examine the impact of coronavirus on children and young people.

MSPs will hear from young people and teachers about the impact the cancellation of the 2020 exams will have on them as well as their views on the planned assessment process.

The committee will also look at the wellbeing of vulnerable children, such as those in poverty, with additional support needs and those monitored for child protection reasons, and it will also be exploring the future of colleges and universities.

Committee convener Clare Adamson MSP said: “We have seen the people of Scotland respond as never before to the challenges we all currently face.

“We have seen communities come together in support of each other and friends and families connect in new ways.

“But we cannot ignore the impact that the current measures will be having on some of the most vulnerable children.

“Those living in poverty and deprivation as well as those with additional support needs may not be getting the support and services they most desperately need.

“Our committee wants to find out what more needs to be done to ensure that none of these children’s needs are missed as a result of this crisis.

“We also cannot forget for some young people, it feels like their futures have changed beyond imagination.

“There is uncertainty and fear about what the cancellation of the 2020 exams means for them.”

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