Liberal Democrat councillors have warned that plans from Edinburgh Council for city schools from August “risks failing pupils and working parents”.
Last week, education officials announced a plan which would see only 33% in-school learning for pupils when they return on Wednesday 12 August. Specific details have yet to be finalised but could see pupils in classrooms for as little as one day in a particular week.
The Liberal Democrats have now published a five point plan which would boost in-person teaching and also better support parents who need to work
- Open up community centres, church halls and other safe spaces for extra class room capacity.
- Ensure the Scottish Government fully funds a significant increase in teacher numbers across the city.
- Allow families of children from the same class to ‘bubble up’ to share childcare when health and science advice allows.
- Partner up our schools to share capacity and stop a postcode lottery on the teaching of our children.
- Allow close family members to help with childcare and home learning just as soon health guidelines allow.
Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, Councillor Louise Young said,
“This plan put forward by Edinburgh Council risks failing pupils and working parents.
“To have as little as 33% in-school learning risks jeopardising the education of thousands of children across the city. It also undermines the ability of parents who need to work, particularly as furlough arrangements come to an end. I’ve already heard from mothers and fathers who fear losing their jobs because these planned schooling arrangements won’t allow them to work when they need to.
“I appreciate the huge challenges being faced by officers, especially given current social distancing requirements. However, this is a moment which demands creative thinking and imaginative solutions. It’s why the Lib Dems have published our own five point plan to boost teaching capacity and better support parents with childcare. We need to think and act differently, for pupils and working parents.
“We need to be driven by the science but to fix the schooling arrangements for mid August based on the science of mid June seems unnecessarily restrictive. The Council should also be making arrangements for the likelihood that the scientific advice will change to allow further easing and therefore increased capacity in the schools.
“Liberal Democrats support a cautious approach on tacking the virus. However, as we use the lockdown to protect lives from the virus, we need to consider the damage caused to people’s lives because of the lockdown including on the loss of education for children."