Falkirk schools: More pupils set for return to classroom

Falkirk schools will take a step closer to normality next week as more pupils return to some face-to-face teaching.

Older primary school pupils will return full-time on Monday while secondary pupils have been promised at least one day a week in the classroom.

Following Scottish Government guidelines, Falkirk pupils from P4-7 will join the youngest pupils who have been back in schools since February 22.

All secondary pupils in S1-S3 will be in class at least once per week for face-to face learning, while pupils in S4-S6 have been told they will get at least two days per week.

PIC LISA FERGUSON 02/11/2020 Higher History S5/S6 Armadale Academy students/pupils wear masks in the classroom along with their teacher West Lothian has been placed into Tier 3 alon with the rest of the Central Belt COVID 19, CORONA VIRUS - From today teachers and S4-S6 pupils must wear face masks/face coverings in classrooms in the new tier 3 and tier 4 COVID 19 restrictions. Senior pupils and their teachers are being advised to wear face coverings in classrooms for schools in the new level 3 and 4 restriction areas. The Scottish government has released new guidance on school safety to take account of the five-level Covid alert system, which begins on Monday. Other guidance advises staff to wear face coverings in all schools, where social distancing is not possible. And parents should wear masks even at drop-off and pick-up.

All secondary pupils will must wear masks when they attend and social distancing will also be in place.

Falkirk Council has said that each school will decide how to safely balance remote and in-school learning based on local circumstances and have promised that all parents and carers will get details by Friday (March 12).

The council has also told parents that it is talking to NHS Forth Valley public health about how they can safely re-start breakfast clubs and have promised to do so as soon it is considered to be safe.

Parents have been reminded that they must keep two-metre distance from each other when dropping off or collecting children from school and they should wear a face covering.

The Scottish Government’s says it expects that all secondary school pupils will be back in school on a full time basis after the Easter holidays, from Monday April 19.

In his letter sent to all parents and carers, Falkirk's director of Children's Services, Robert Naylor, thanked them for all the support they had given to pupils who were learning remotely.

Colin Finlay, of the local EIS, said the union and school staff are committed to reopening schools - as long it is done safely.

He said: "Throughout the last year we have worked closely with Children’s Services to formulate and keep risk assessments updated and fit for purpose.

"Whilst this is an anxious time for members, the partnership work we have undertaken has meant that Falkirk’s schools are complying with risk assessments."

He asked all school staff to stick the risk assessments and flag any worries they had.

"Safety is not fixed, situations change constantly - the employer has been responsive to any emerging concerns and I encourage staff and parents to continue to raise concerns to resolve issues quickly," he said.

Margaret Wilson, whose children attend Victoria Primary and Graeme High School, is the chair of the National Parent Forum of Scotland.

She said: "I know that there are concerns about pupils not getting enough time in the classroom but I think that most parents are happy they are going back and things are going in the right direction.

"We have to put the safety of staff and pupils at the centre of everything and every school has different circumstances that need to be taken into account.

"We have been hosting Q&A webinars telling parents more about what they can expect and these have been really well received."

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