Commenting following First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s daily COVID-19 briefing, where a number of issues related to education were addressed, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said:
"Schools are currently planning for re-opening to pupils from August 11, taking current public health advice into account. For most schools, this will require significantly smaller teaching groups to allow for physical distancing measures to be observed."
"It is unlikely that schools will be able to accommodate even 50% of normal pupil numbers in classrooms at any one time, and certainly significantly fewer than that in smaller classrooms. For the rest of the school week, the expectation is that pupils will continue to learn from home as part of the blended learning approach."
"Creating temporary classrooms – such as through the use of other public buildings, or by installing temporary modular classrooms on school grounds – would be one obvious means of addressing this issue, potentially allowing a greater number of young people to attend school at the same time."
"There are clearly challenges in this, including funding to pay for these additional spaces and to employ the teachers who will be required to teach the additional classes, but if we are serious about minimising the damage to children's education, these costs and challenges need to be met."
"Ironically, at the same time as national bodies are talking about recruiting retired teachers to aid with recovery, newly qualified teachers are receiving letters in several local authorities saying that there are no jobs for them."
"To date, there has been constructive dialogue from all parties through the Education Recovery Group, including both national and local government. We need to maintain a national effort to support students; to identify solutions; and then to enable the funding to realise our ambitions."