Welsh schools open for first time in three months with very different classroom experience

29 June 2020, 07:19

Daniel Bevan

By Daniel Bevan

Welsh schools are set to open for the first time in more than three months later today, but there will be a "big difference for some of the little ones."

It’s been more than three weeks since the Welsh Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, announced schools could plan to re-open by adding extra safety measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.

LBC visited Ninian Park Primary School in Cardiff to see how they’ve been preparing to re-open.

The Headteacher, Jennifer Scott, told us the classroom experience will be very different for the returning pupils.

She said: “Although we’ve tried to make it as inclusive and friendly as possible, and welcoming for our children, understandable it is going to look more sparse and plain than it normally does.

“We’ve tried very hard to make sure we communicate this with them.

“We’ve used videos and posts on our social media feeds.

“But having five tables in our classrooms instead of twelve is going to make a big difference for some of the little ones coming back to us.”

Schools in Wales are set to go back on Monday with a different experience for pupils
Schools in Wales are set to go back on Monday with a different experience for pupils. Picture: PA

As we reported earlier, Welsh Government guidance requires schools to have staggered start, end and break time.

At one time, no more than one-third of pupils will be present.

Following the Education Minister’s announcement, The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton branded the re-start plan as ‘the second-best option’.

He believed a return in September would be the better, but said that proposal ‘wasn’t attractive to the unions’ - a comment that drew a lot of criticism the towards Welsh Government

Despite that, the First minister of Wales told us he believes schools are ready to re-open.

He said: “Everything we need to have in place is in place.

“We’ve got mechanisms in place [for when], if anything were to become a cause for concern, there is an escalating process were that can be brought to attention.”

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However, some Welsh schools will not be opening today.

Classrooms in Anglesey will remain closed due to an outbreak in the island.

Parents in Wales won’t be fined if they choose not to send their children back to schools.

But whilst this scaled-back restart will work in the short term, it remains to be seen what the ‘new normal’ will look like for schools in September.