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Responding to the publication of supplementary guidance for schools on the phased reopening of schools in January by the Scottish Government, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The new variant of Covid has escalated the risks to pupils and teachers considerably and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister must keep under constant review whether it will be safe to reopen schools in January in the timeframe and manner currently planned by the Scottish Government.

“Ministers must be guided by the medical and scientific evidence, with the priority the safety, health and welfare of children, young people and school staff. A highly cautious and preventative approach must be adopted in order to protect health and welfare.

“If the arrangements for the new term do go ahead in their current form we will expect local authorities to use all available flexibilities offered to them by the Government in order to minimise the number of school staff and pupils on site during the planned phased return and to fulfil their duty of care to protect medically vulnerable and high risk groups of staff.

“However, in such a fast developing situation ministers must accept the need to change course if they cannot demonstrate that the plans for a phased reopening will be able to go ahead safely.”
Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
“Teachers and school leaders must be given adequate time and space to prepare for remote teaching and learning and must not be expected to give up time during the Christmas period to plan for the new term.

“Teaching staff have faced a uniquely challenging year and the focus in planning for January must be on their safety, health and wellbeing and that of their pupils.”


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