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Welsh Government issues guidance for September return to school

WITH attending school being compulsory for all pupils from 14 September, the Welsh Government has published advice guidance for teachers in Wales planning the return of full-time classes in September.

Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister said that “This guidance will help support our schools in ensuring that learners continue to access a broad and balanced curriculum” and “we will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure the guidance reflects the latest scientific and medical advice.”

The Welsh Government accepts it would be “difficult” for a local authority or schools to issue fines or take action for non-attendance

The guidance outlines the “overarching principle” to reduce contact between pupils, and between staff, to minimise the risk of coronavirus infections.

In addition, it clarifies the steps needed to implement contact groups across a year, if smaller groups would have a negative impact on teaching or it is practically difficult within a school.

Older pupils may have to mix as an entire year group, to ensure GCSE and A-level teaching can go ahead whilst younger children at both secondary and primary schools may be able to stick to class-sized “contact” groups.

Other measures to encourage social distancing in schools include adjusting start and finish times for schools, and staggering break time and free periods.

The government said it also intends to “provide each school and setting” with a supply of testing kits to ensure there is “flexibility in the testing available”.

The guidance provides no further details on school transport, stating that the latest advice on public transport will be issued shortly and that parents and carers are being advised to take their children to and from school on foot or by bike where possible.

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