Plans for phased reopening of schools when lockdown lifts to be announced

Plans for the phased return to school for children in Wales are due to be announced by the Welsh Government.

Education minister Kirsty Williams will set out the five key principles which will determine how pupils will go back to school after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased.

Schools are only open to vulnerable children and children of critical workers, with many local authorities adopting a hub approach rather than opening all schools in their area.

Ms Williams said school provision would gradually adapt and extend further during the next phase of the lockdown, in line with changes outlined by First Minister Mark Drakeford last week.

Kirsty Williams will set out her principles which will determine how pupils will go back to school. Credit: Welsh Government

He published a framework with seven key questions to help lead Wales out of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, Ms Williams will set out five guiding principles which will determine when and how schools will return to providing education for most school pupils.

They are:

  • The safety and mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of students and staff.

  • - Continuing contribution to the national effort and strategy to fight the spread of Covid-19.

  • - Having the confidence of parents, staff and students, based on evidence and information, so that they can plan ahead.

  • - Ability to prioritise learners at key points, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

  • - Consistency with the Welsh Government's framework for decision making, to have guidance in place to support measures such as distancing, managing attendance and wider protective actions.

Earlier this month, Ms Williams suggested Wales could follow countries in Europe like Denmark with phased reopening of schools starting with younger children in primary education.

"As I understand it, social distancing practices are probably due to continue for a considerable period of time," Ms Williams said.