Council statement on schools

The safety of children, families and school staff in the county remain the main priority for Powys County Council following the announcement by the Wales’ Education Minister.

Kirsty Williams announced on Wednesday, June 3 that schools in Wales will start the next phase on June 29 so that all children will have the opportunity to ‘Check in, Catch Up, Prepare for summer and September’.

Reacting to the announcement, Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Property, said: “From the beginning of this pandemic, we have made it clear that our main priority has always been the safety of children, their families and school staff and this still remains the case

“Some of our schools and early years providers have remained open to provide childcare for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children throughout the lockdown, including at weekends and bank holidays. We want to say thank you again to all the staff who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.

“We understand the pressure families are under, and the importance of ensuring that children are able to return to school when it is safe to do so. We also appreciate parents’ genuine concerns about sending their children back to school.

“Here in Powys, we have been working hard to put plans in place for increasing the operation of our schools to enable more children to attend when the time is right to do so. We have been working closely with headteachers, governors and school staff, and discussions are continuing with Welsh Government and the teaching unions.

“Risk assessments are being carried out at all of our schools across the county. Each school is being individually assessed on its own situation, and it may very well be the case that ‘a one size fits all’ approach will not work. This means that some schools may not be able to offer the same level of provision, which will depend upon on building space and staffing capacity. The main consideration is to keep everyone – children and school staff – as safe as possible.

“Parents will be updated over the coming weeks on the specific arrangements and the measures that are being put in place to allow us to do this.

“I would like to reassure you that we are doing all we can, and we will keep you informed every step of the way, but please bear with us as it may take some time to put all these arrangements in place.

“In the meantime, our schools are continuing to work hard to support children with their learning at home; and if you need any additional support at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your school.

“Thank you for your continued support and co-operation, we will be providing you with an update as soon as we can.”