Schools increasing operations from 29th June
When will schools in Wales open for more pupils?
Schools will start the next phase of opening on 29 June. It is proposed that the summer term will be extended by a week, therefore ending on 24 July.
The Autumn half-term break will be expanded to two weeks, the dates for this will be confirmed as soon as possible.
How will school re-opening work?
In each school there will be a phased approach. Year groups will be split into cohorts with staggered starts, and breaks. It is expected that this will mean, at most, a third of pupils present at any one time, though schools may need time to reach this level of operation.
There will be much smaller classes, providing secure dedicated time with teachers and classmates. This time will include online and personalised classroom experience and getting children and teachers ready for a similar experience in September.
Schools will make arrangements according to their own circumstances and they will inform parents about the individual arrangements for their pupils.
Why have you made this decision now?
Since the decision to close schools for statutory provision, our understanding of the virus and its longer-term impacts has continued to develop. We know that we are going to have to live with it for some time and that it will remain our biggest challenge for the foreseeable future.
What we are doing is creating the opportunity for children to Check in, Catch Up and Prepare before the start of September. By doing this now it will give children vital contact time before the summer holiday which will have important social, learning and attainment gap benefits. This will help prepare learners for contact time after the summer holidays and will also allow schools to test operations before the autumn term.
For parents and teachers too this is an important opportunity to experience and be confident of the safety measures in place. The safety of staff and learners is paramount. By the 29 June there will have been one full month of test, trace and protect.
I’m a parent / guardian who is shielding. Do I send my child / children back to school at the end of June?
If you are a shielding parent or guardian, there is no expectation to send your child / children back to school at the end of June. Parents won’t be fined for keeping their child / children at home. These children will continue to be supported by their schools in different ways.
My child is shielding. Will they have to return to school at the end of June?
If your child is shielding they should not return to school at the end of June or use the opportunity of these check-in sessions. Shielded children will continue to be supported by their schools in different ways.
Will parents be fined if they do not send their child to school?
During this time parents won’t be fined for keeping their child / children at home. These children will continue to be supported by their schools in different ways.
What date is the October half-term break?
We are working to determine the date for the additional week on the October half-term break and will ensure it is communicated as soon as possible.
Will all education staff and learners be tested for COVID-19?
All symptomatic members of the public, including critical workers and children, now able to book tests for coronavirus.
Test Trace Protect
The new Test, Trace, Protect strategy published on 13 May was implemented across Wales from 1 June and will be a critical factor in supporting the increase in operations of schools.
This strategy sets out the next phase of our approach to tackling coronavirus; testing people with symptoms in the community, tracing those who have come into close contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus, and protecting family, friends and our community by self-isolating.
Existing hubs provision
As operations increase over the summer term, we would expect children attending hubs provision to move back to their own school or setting. For learners who are currently using hubs provision, the expectation is that schools and settings should continue to make additional provision for those learners, alongside the learning that they are entitled to for the remainder of the summer term.
Schools should work closely with parents/carers and local authorities to understand whether this is needed. Children of teaching staff may need to be accommodated at their own school or setting in order to allow staff to attend. Local authorities work closely with schools and settings operating as hubs to manage this transition.
We will clarify the expectations beyond the summer term in due course. There is no expectation that schools continue hubs provision during the summer holidays. Local authorities may make alternative provision but it is not expected that this will be managed by school staff.
10 June 2020
10 June 2020