Preparations for August Classroom Return

Preparations for August Classroom Return Image

Staff will return to Dundee schools from Monday (June 15) as preparations continue to welcome pupils back to the classroom in August, if it is safe to do so.

Some children and young people will be entering school buildings over what would have been the last two weeks of term towards the end of June for key transition stages including entry to P1, S1 and some of the senior phase. However, some of this support for transition will be virtual and continue into the start of next term in August.

Meanwhile, the council’s network of eight community support centres will continue to operate over the summer period, from Monday 29 June to Tuesday 4 August ( 8 am - 6pm for key workers' children), providing not only critical childcare for key workers, but also helping to look after some of the most vulnerable children in the city.

As with the rest of Scotland, Dundee City Council is working to open schools from August 11, with the introduction of a blended learning model involving a mixture of classroom and learning from home.

Councillor Stewart Hunter, children and families service convener, explained: “Staff returning to schools is a huge step in the journey to welcome children and young people back to the classroom.

“Since schools were closed in March, there has been a huge effort ongoing to maintain education for all our pupils, no matter what their circumstances.

“Staff have shown creativity and innovation to engage with pupils. Their efforts have been phenomenal.

“I would like to wish them all the best as they return to our schools to help us prepare for the new school year in August.

“This will involve a very different approach to learning, where there will be physical distancing measures in places as well as a mix of school and home learning.” 

Councillor Hunter added: “There is an immense amount of work to be carried out to allow this to happen, and I would ask families to continue to be patient until we are ready to give them the exact details about how this will go ahead.

“We will need to look at how physical distancing measures can be put in place and how the mix of school and home learning will work. Every school will take a different approach to best suit its layout and size of pupil roll. We want to get it right for everyone.” 

The council has received praise from Education Scotland for the way it has supported learners while schools have been closed. An online learning hub has been created to help families to access resources, while learning packs have been made available through the community support centres.

Schools have been developing blogs to showcase their learning developments and to share good practice, with examples at Our Lady's Primary and Fintry Primary

Laptops and other equipment have been distributed around school communities to assist with learning under the new arrangements.

A new batch of around 600 laptops will be fitted with data connections and given to selected households soon in another outreach effort to ensure inclusion for the ongoing home education of pupils.

The council is now carrying out a survey of families to ask their opinions about the home learning experience. Responses will be used to help in the establishment of blended learning from August.

The survey is available at http://tiny.cc/eirmqz

Meanwhile, the council’s community support centre network is being praised for its role in helping some of the city’s most vulnerable children cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Depute children and families service convener Councillor Rosin Smith explained: “I am extremely impressed at the way that our support centres have helped us to ensure that vulnerable children are not being left behind in the wake of the pandemic.

“We are providing support and education, as well as food. The centres are putting on a lifeline service for these children, helping to give them a structure in what have been very uncertain times.

“The centres have also supplied critical childcare for our key workers and I am heartened to see that they will still operate across the summer holiday weeks.

“I would also like to thank the many kinship and foster carers across Dundee for the efforts they have been making to support the learning of young people in their care.

“This is helping to make a real difference for these children and showcases the important contribution that these caring roles make.”                 

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