We hope you and your school community are keeping safe and well.
Further to recent announcements in England regarding schools re-opening, we felt it important to write to you to clarify the current situation in Wales.
The Minister has made it clear that any decision on the re-opening of schools in Wales will be guided by the very latest scientific advice and will be based on the determined five key principles being met:
- The safety and mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of students and staff
- Continuing contribution to the national effort and strategy to fight the spread of COVID-19
- Having the confidence of parents, staff and students – based on evidence and information – so that they can plan ahead
- Ability to prioritise learners at key points, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds
- Consistency with the Welsh Government’s framework for decision making, to have guidance in place to support measures such as distancing, managing attendance and wider protective actions.
The Minister also emphasized in her speech that any announcement about the re-opening of schools would be undertaken by herself and that it would be communicated well in advance to stakeholders to allow everyone time to plan for the next stage. As it currently stands, the situation in Wales has not changed and schools are not
expected to reopen on 1 June. We would advise you therefore to disregard any communication regarding transition back to school which is shared by either Westminster or any commercial based companies that are offering advice to schools based in England.
We would also like to take the opportunity to reassure you that, when instructions to reopen schools are delivered by Welsh Government, we will work closely and effectively with you and your local authority to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
Initial work is currently being undertaken in partnership with local authority officers to develop a regional framework which will ensure that schools are comprehensively supported with the task of re-opening. The Framework will consist of risk assessments and draft policies/guidance covering a range of areas for consideration and development by schools. A regional approach will also give staff, pupils and parents confidence that there will be consistency and equity in how the next re purposing of schools will be managed.
We hope that the information shared above will prove useful.
We will issue further communication as the situation develops.