Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of the Highland Council’s Education Committee responded to the announcement today by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister on the return of education.
“Today’s announcement by the Deputy First Minister that the planning assumption will now be for a full return to school for all pupils in August if it is safe to do so, is very welcome news for everyone and it reflects the aspirations that have been communicated to me over recent days by so many parents.
“The education of our young people is extremely important in terms of their educational, mental and social development, as well as their future opportunities and outcomes.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our school staff and our parents and pupils for their hard work and collaboration throughout the period of lockdown and especially over recent weeks when they have been developing plans to return pupils to school taking account of the rules that are currently in place. It has been a very difficult time in many ways for all.
“The safety of our children, our young people and all our staff has been paramount in all our preparations for return to school which include detailed planning and risk assessments. Safety will of course remain a top priority.
“We look forward to detailed guidance and information on new resources to enable us to take these preparations forward at pace, for a full return of pupils in August. We will work with the Scottish Government, trade unions, teaching staff, parents, and children and young people themselves to consider the implications and measures necessary.
“Whilst there will be a number of precautions and considerations, safety will remain the number one priority.
“It should not be forgotten that a full return to education in August will only be possible with continued adherence to national guidance and scientific advice and everyone has played an important role in helping to suppress the virus in our community. We cannot become complacent.”
We will send more information home later as soon as we can.