First Minister suggests schoolchildren could return in June, NAHT Cymru expresses concern

First Minister Mark Drakeford yesterday mentioned the possibility of children in Wales returning to schools in June on the Andrew Marr show, saying:

“Our advice from the trade unions and from the local education authorities is that we will need three weeks as a minimum from the point we decided to do that to when schools can reopen. So we are talking the beginning of June there.”

The First Minister explained that the Welsh Government is particularly keen that those with special educational needs, children in year six and those who learn in Welsh with no Welsh speakers in the home should return to school quickest.

However, Laura Doel, director of NAHT Cymru, said  the First Ministers comments were ‘confusing and unhelpful’.

She added:

“There is constant speculation of when schools may reopen and we have been clear that any date set for wider access to schools must be based on robust scientific evidence and medical advice.

“We need to know about infection rates between the young, and transmission rates between the young and adults. Only when these questions have been answered can we begin to understand the conditions necessary to support a safe return.

“We have been clear in our discussions with Welsh Government that the profession must be at the heart of any plans and not merely part of a consultation once plans have already been drawn up. It is the professionals who have the knowledge and understanding of the practicalities involved in returning to school and crucially it’s school leaders who have the faith and confidence of the parents.

“The NAHT will make sure that the calm, considered and determined voice of education professionals is heard by government.”