MORE than 90 per cent of Pembrokeshire’s children are back in school following the new term reopening following Covid-19 lockdown.
In the first full week of all children being expected back in primary and secondary school there was 90 per cent attendance, which has risen to 92 per cent as of September 30, the director of education Steven Richards-Downes said.
Mr Richards-Downes addressed members of the schools and learning overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday, October 1, in his new role as director of education, having held the interim position following the departure of Kate Evan-Hughes.
The committee was updated on school reopening as part of the Covid-19 recovery process and heard that headteachers met twice a week to keep up to date on safety guidelines and discuss any issues.
“To date every school has remained open with no positive cases reported in schools,” said Mr Richards-Downes, as he praised the hard work of all those involved in “keeping the learning going in what is a particularly challenging period for schools.”
The committee heard that some schools were experiencing a “truncated” lesson time to allow for social distancing and sanitisation.
Support for those families who had chosen not to send their children back to school was available, with online learning and learning packs still available, but future guidance from Welsh Government on how to deal with this long-term was awaited.
Currently, families will not be fined if their children have not returned but are kept on the school roll, but this will be reviewed after October half term.
There has also been an increase in the numbers being de-registered from school for elective home learning and contact was in place through the Home Education network.
Work was ongoing to “assure families that although there will be levels of anxiety amongst people, and I understand that, our schools continue to be safe to return to,” said Mr Richards-Downes.