29 April 2020

Scottish Labour is today calling on the Education Secretary to provide clarity on the measures which will be taken to protect teachers and pupils when they return to classrooms in August.

Speaking on Bauer media this morning, John Swinney confirmed that social distancing will be ditched for a full-time return to schools on 11th August and while he said he was ‘not personally sympathetic’ to the use of protective screens between pupils and teachers, he made no commitment as to whether face masks would be provided for teachers.

Scottish Labour Education spokesperson, Iain Gray, said: “After his overnight u-turn on a full-time return to school, without warning even his own Education Recovery Group far less teachers or councils, John Swinney must now start to allay fears of school staff and parents.

“Having ditched social distancing for pupils, he must confirm that it will still apply for staff, as in many other countries, and he must commit to providing and funding face masks for all staff and any pupils who wish them.

"Councils need support to make this happen and should not be expected to fund it from existing resources. This would at least be a start to rebuilding some confidence in his handling of schools after this week’s fiasco.

“The Education secretary must also set a reasonable date for deciding if a full time return is safe. His suggestion that parents will be told on July 30th whether or not their children will be going back full time on August 11th is unacceptable.”

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