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Welsh Education Minister to give update on schools reopening

Kirsty Williams will update heads, staff and parents this lunchtime

Teachers and parents are due to get more clarity later today on when and how Welsh school pupils will be returning to the classroom as the easing of lockdown measures continues in Wales.

Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams is set to give a briefing this lunchtime outlining her plans.

It is expected that the return to schools will be phased, with a combination of small groups and distance learning likely to be the norm for a long period.

Some schools have been open to the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils throughout the pandemic.

 

Meanwhile Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for  Educatrion said the coronavirus pandemic had shown how vital the education system is, but at the same time had exposed how entrenched poverty and the so-called ‘digital divide’ is in society.

Education Siân Gwenllian MS said children who lack access to adequate broadband and laptops are losing out. They are also losing out if the home environment is not suited to learning.

She said:

“Refining remote learning must be central to the plans for the phased re-opening of schools.

“If we get distance learning right, then this opens up so many possibilities and allows a gradual return to schools, when it is safe to do so and fully supported by the science.

“The focus on closing the ‘digital divide’ should be integral to future planning as we continue to strive to close the attainment gap

“In the meantime, we need to re-visit discussions about re-configuring the annual school pattern to give pupils better stability and continuity of learning during these unprecedented times.

“For children who are not supported with their learning in the home environment, the longer this goes on, the more we risk them falling behind – and no child should be left behind.”

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