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KW Kirsty Williams - Speech

Guidance published to help schools, colleges and childcare settings

Canllawiau wedi'u cyhoeddi i helpu ysgolion, colegau a lleoliadau gofal plant

The Welsh Government has today published guidance for schools to plan for pupils to return from 29 June to “check in, catch up and prepare for summer and September”. Guidance has also been published for further education settings, which are due to resume limited on-campus learning from 15 June.

The guidance, ‘Keep Education Safe’, provides practical and learning guidance on preparing schools for a phased return up to the end of the summer term, supporting settings to safely increase their on-site operations.

In each school there will be a phased approach. Year groups will be split into small groups with staggered starts and breaks. It is expected that this will mean, at most, a third of pupils present at any one time

The guidance for schools is divided into two sections: on operational matters and on learning. The guidance is supported by a Frequently Asked Questions page on the Welsh Government website, which will provide answers to common questions as they arise.  

The Welsh Government is also publishing guidance for childcare settings today, to support the sector in opening up more widely and ensuring providers can operate safely.

Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister, said:

“We know that such a long period away from school, friends and the classroom will have a detrimental impact on the wellbeing and learning of many young people. That is why we have taken the decision that the majority of learners will be able to check in, catch up, and prepare for the summer and September.

“Striking a balance between providing national public health guidance and enabling local flexibility has been critical in the development of this guidance. More detail and support will be developed as detailed plans are worked up by schools and local authorities.

“I am grateful to the headteachers, staff, unions and parents who have already been sharing their plans and proposals. We are working together to ensure that this opportunity is available to the vast majority of pupils and parents in a safe, structured and sensible way.

“As we continue to keep Wales safe, we will continue to develop the guidance over the summer term and into September, while ensuring it reflects the latest medical and scientific advice. 

“The health and wellbeing of learners and staff is, as always, our primary concern.  Schools, colleges and other settings are working hard to plan for the return of their learners and to put the appropriate safeguards in place. The guidance published today will support them in doing this.

“Working together, we will secure equity and excellence for learners as they check in, catch up and prepare for the summer and September.”

Notes to editors

Operational guidance

The operational guidance is designed to support educational settings to increase logistical safely over the coming weeks. The document includes practical information on matters including:

  • Keeping staff and pupils safe and well;
  • Social distancing and use of space;
  • Transport;
  • Cleaning and hygiene.

Learning guidance

The learning guidance is designed to advise schools on how to support their pupils for the remainder of the summer term and prepare them for the next academic year in September.

The guidance sets out expectations for the remainder of the summer term, including advice on:

  • supporting pupils’ mental, emotional and physical well-being;
  • using the new curriculum to support learning;
  • communicating with parents and carers.

The guidance will be updated throughout the term, with more detailed advice added for schools and settings in advance of the next school year.

Further education and childcare

Guidance has also been published for the Further Education sector. Colleges and work-based learning settings are to phase in face-to-face learning for priority groups from 15 June. This will include vocational learners who need to complete practical assessments and vulnerable learners who need additional support to stay engaged in learning.  Colleges have worked closely with unions to develop detailed protocols for the safe return of staff to college premises.


Links to documents

Keep Childcare Safe: Protective measures in pre-school childcare settings

Keep Education Safe: Operational guidance for schools 

Keep Education Safe: Learning guidance for schools

Keep Education Safe: Guidance on recommencing face to face further education and work based learning