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‘Prepare for significant disruption to education system’ is message from Education Minister

Stay Safe and Stay Learning was the final message from the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams at the Ministerial Briefing on Wednesday (Apr 15).

The minister fielded questions from the media, some of which had been sent in in advance. Llanelli Online sent in two questions, which were not asked but we were assured that we would receive answers in due course.

Signalling what many parents may fear, the minister said that we should prepare ourselves for significant disruption to our education system. Even when children return to school, the suggestion was that things would still be difficult, not least maintaining social distancing and finding enough teaching staff to reopen schools.

Key points from Ministerial briefing, Live streamed on Twitter, Wednesday (Apr 15) Kirsty Williams AM

The full audio stream can be listened to at the bottom of the page.

• Working with Local authorities, school improvement services, Universities, BBC and S Pedwar Ec to provide high quality resources and develop a continuation of learning programme for schools and learners
• World class digital platforms available to all of our learners and teachers in maintained schools including access to the latest online classroom tools from Google and Microsoft
• During March usage of HWB digital learning platform significantly increased
• From next week statement on ‘stay safe, stay learning’.
• Only government and educational system to provide national guidance and tools in coordinated way
• Don’t want nor expect parents to be formal teachers, we need to provide support to help them help their children
• Introduce the new curriculum and assessment bill before Senedd Summer recess
• Can expect an increased demand for mental health support as children
• Welsh Gov doing all it can to increase testing capacity for COVID-19
• Clear plans in place to develop testing at capacity
• Focus is rightly on testing front line staff in health care sector social care
• We will have to move on to include and expand community testing
• We should prepare ourselves for a significant period of disruption to our education system
• Will only open schools when advised by chief medical officer and chief scientific officer that it is safe to do so
• Take into consideration the availability of workforce, clear when schools open wont be business as usual, maybe in a situation where we have part of the school cohort going back
• Schools will only reopen for statutory purposes when it is safe for our staff and safe for our children
• Take up of free school meals 10,000 meals a day provided
• Welsh Gov thinking of what steps nation can take to ease restrictions, which will be guided by the science
• Testing social care staff for some time. Any social care worker or resident indicates need for testing will have one
• Working as part of UK approach to secure appropriate supply of PPE, confident we have the stocks available
• Using military logistics to get supplies to settings, dedicated phone line to ensure surgeries can get supplies
• Data on deaths from Coronavirus released when Public Health Wales advises Welsh Gov it is appropriate to do so
• Need to be clear and honest about devastating impact disease is having in our communities
• Public health emergency and emergency for our economy, figures are sobering and shocking, our focus is on supporting as many businesses as we can
• Can’t save every business
• Concerning to me is the effect on the career prospects of young people
• Teachers will still be engaging in professional learning development

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