Ash Denham, MSP for Edinburgh Eastern, welcomed the announcement last week by Deputy First Minister John Swinney that schools will return full-time in August if Scotland continues to make progress on suppressing COVID-19.
The move comes after significant progress was made in reducing incidence rates of the virus, putting Scotland on a more positive trajectory than previously expected.
As a result, the Scottish Government has now made it a central planning assumption that pupils will return to class full-time, without distancing, in August. This is conditional on infection rates being sufficiently low to continue to control the virus, public health and testing systems being in place and protective measures and risk assessments being carried out in schools.
Mr Swinney also revealed that an additional £100 million will be invested over the next two years to tackle the impact of lockdown on schools and pupils, including ensuring every current probationer teacher who meets the standard for full registration having a teaching post for the year ahead.
Commenting, Ash Denham said:
“This is extremely welcome news and it is thanks to the significant sacrifices of people here in Edinburgh and across Scotland during the lockdown that pupils can return to a school setting full time in August, if the virus continues to be suppressed.
“I will continue to engage with The City of Edinburgh Council, as I have already been doing in recent days, on the safe return of our pupils and staff to ensure our young people get the education they deserve.
“I want to send my gratitude to our amazing teachers, school staff, pupils, and their families for their patience and their help during these uncertain times.
“I am also delighted to see an additional £100m, to be invested over the next two years, to tackle the impact of lockdown on schools and pupils, which will ensure every current probationary teacher who meets the standard for full registration will have a teaching post in the year ahead.
“There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but this announcement is another important step in our recovery from this pandemic and shows the Scottish Government is doing all it can to support families and communities across the country.”