Dear Parents and Guardians,
I am writing to update you on our ongoing campaign to secure the full-time education of your children next term.
As you know, having shifted from a priority of blended and part-time learning, thanks to your campaigning efforts the SNP government has now asked Councils and schools to work towards restoring schools to full occupancy on August 11. Yesterday the Education Secretary, John Swinney MSP, updated the Scottish Parliament with regards to the SNP government’s timetable and plans.
We repeatedly pressed the Education Secretary to commit now to full-time school education, across all Councils, across all Scotland, but the Scottish Government will not formally announce the August 11 return date until July 30. Even then, the language used in the statement on Thursday suggested that some schools may return on a “phased basis” and was still unclear about guidance around social distancing, PPE for school staff and of course the issue of adequately funding local councils to adapt their schools. Issues which I am all seeking further clarification on.
We think waiting until the end of the month before giving the green light to fully open schools leaves precious little time to make preparations and doubts have been cast over how achievable this will be.
The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly questioned the SNP government on this matter and have used all the methods at our disposal to push the government to provide more certainty for parents and schools.
We believe that our children need to get back to school full-time and we are concerned about the effect on all children, but particularly the vulnerable and those with additional support needs, if that does not happen.
We understand that many parents want to go back to work but cannot do so without the certainty of their children in full-time education or adequate childcare. Both issues which many of you have written to me about in recent weeks.
The Scottish Conservatives will continue to fight on your behalf to achieve this goal. The SNP has made a commitment to parents and we will ensure they deliver on it.
Please get in touch with us if you there is anything you would like to discuss in your own area.
Thank you very much for your time.
Jamie Greene MSP
Member of the Scottish Parliament (West Scotland Region)
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills