£ 18million to support children and young people with additional learning needs

The Education Minister has asked SCHOOLS in Wales to prepare for home learning from January.

Jeremy Miles MS reiterated the Welsh government’s aspiration to stick to in-person learning in schools. However, he added that some steps may need to be taken to protect children and staff.

He wrote to schools, suggesting they were preparing to switch to distance learning if necessary.

Schools will have two days at the start of the spring term to create plans for all children to return to school.

Colleges were also given the option to use the two “planning days” at the start of the term, and were told they can switch to e-learning starting in January.

The use of face covers in schools will continue, along with an increase in the number of lateral flow tests. High school students and staff are required to take tests at least three times a week.

Schools have also been allowed to stagger the start and end times of the new term to help combat the spread of the Omicron variant.

Mr Miles said: “Our collective priority continues to be to minimize disruption to education and to ensure, where possible, that learners continue to receive in-person learning, as well as to protect staff, learners and communities,

“I know the fall term has been particularly difficult for school staff, learners and their families, and the level of disruption due to staff capacity has forced some schools to make the difficult decision to relocate certain classes or groups. years towards distance learning for short periods.

“In recognition of the challenges schools and colleges have faced and the current levels of uncertainty regarding Omicron’s impact, I wrote to all schools and colleges today to provide them with the most possible clarity to allow them to plan and prepare. for the return in January.

“I offer all schools two planning days at the start of the spring term. This will allow time for schools to assess staff capacity and put in place the necessary measures to support the return of all learners.

“Schools will be urged to use planning days to ensure they have solid plans in place to move to distance learning if needed – this could be for individual classes or groups of years or possibly for the whole school.

“Schools will also be urged to take this opportunity to review contingency plans, ensuring that review years are prioritized for on-site delivery if there is a need to restrict in-person learning at any time. and consider what arrangements may need to be put in place for vulnerable people. learners and the children of essential workers during any period of disruption.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation and we continue to monitor the latest data and evidence.

“I would like to reiterate my thanks to all members of the educational community for all they have done in these most difficult times.”

Commenting on Welsh Conservative and Ghost Education Minister Laura Anne Jones MS said:

“The youngest people in our society have sacrificed so much during the pandemic to protect others at the cost of their own life chances.

“Therefore, it is essential that we do everything possible to ensure that schools remain open to their normal capacity.

“Education is not expendable, especially for vulnerable children where the time they spend away from home is their only respite from abuse.

“There are legitimate concerns about the availability of manpower if a major wave hits the country, and that is why the priority and energy of the government must be aimed at rolling out the strongest recall jab program. quickly possible. “

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