Responding to the First Minister’s announcement that schools will return full time from August 11th, the EIS has warned against complacency and called for more to be done to ensure that schools are safe environments for pupils and staff.

Commenting following the announcement, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The decision of the Scottish Government to reopen schools with a full pupil return is predicated on the current successful suppression of the virus but as we are seeing in parts of Europe, that situation can change quite quickly."

"Even with full implementation of the guidelines and its mitigations, many teachers and parents will be understandably nervous about a return to the classroom."

He added, "The EIS believes more could be done to reassure school communities around safety if smaller classes were introduced as the norm, employing the many unemployed teachers currently seeking work. The additional funding announced is welcome, therefore, but this needs to translate into smaller class grouping to support physical distancing amongst pupils."

Mr Flanagan continued, "Smaller classes would also provide real extra support to pupils, who we know will have suffered emotionally as well as educationally as a result of lockdown. Reopening schools is only the start of education recovery."

He went on to say, "The EIS will be insistent that the broader mitigations proposed are implemented rigorously, particularly physical distancing between staff and pupils, which will have significant pedagogical implications."

"It certainly will not be 'business as normal'. We will be seeking, also, further reassurances from the Scottish Government on proactive testing and monitoring of the school estate."

Further Information:

An ebulletin message from the General Secretary will be issued to members later this afternoon.

The EIS Executive, will meet tomorrow morning to further consider the announcement.

Scottish Government Guidance:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance on preparing for the start of the new school term in August 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for continuity in learning

Children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment: The closure and reopening of schools as part of the COVID-19 recovery process in Scotland

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding guidance for local authorities and local resilience partnerships