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Kirsty Williams MS, Minister for Education

First published:
13 July 2020
Last updated:

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Last week I announced that all learners would be able to return to school in September with 100% of learners physically present on school sites. I also announced plans to make £29m available to ‘recruit, recover and raise standards’ in schools in response to the impact still felt from the pandemic. Today I am publishing guidance for the autumn term to support schools and settings to further increase their operations from September 2020.

On 10 June I published guidance for schools and settings to support the safe increase of operations from 29 June. The guidance included information on learning, managing facilities, resources, PPE, cleaning and transport.

The operational guidance for the autumn term reflects the latest medical and scientific advice. It provides a framework for local authorities, schools and settings to implement full operations in the autumn, with guidance on contact groups. It also sets out more detailed information on how schools can estimate and manage the risks of transmission.

The learning guidance for the autumn term will give schools and supporting partners a common set of priorities for learning, regardless of the level of operations in response to COVID-19.  Schools will need to prepare for a range of scenarios and this guidance sets out what learning priorities should remain constant throughout those: a single approach which is flexible enough to respond to changing conditions.

As explained previously, striking a balance between providing national guidance and enabling flexibility to reflect local context is important and has been critical in the development of guidance. I am grateful to all our stakeholders who have worked closely with us on the development of the guidance, including headteachers, local authorities and trade unions. This guidance will help support our schools in ensuring that learners continue to access a broad and balanced curriculum and continue to make progress in their learning regardless of how operations change. We will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure the guidance reflects the latest scientific and medical advice. We will also continue to work closely with Qualifications Wales and WJEC to ensure alignment to support learners taking exams in 2021.

I would like to thank the education profession for their dedication, professionalism and hard work over the last few months, and particularly the last couple of weeks which has enabled learners to check in, catch up and prepare. I know the education profession will continue to prioritise the health and well-being of learners when provision is increased in September.

Operational guidance: https://gov.wales/operational-guidance-schools-and-settings-autumn-term-covid-19

Learning guidance: https://gov.wales/guidance-learning-schools-and-settings-autumn-term-covid-19

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