By Elizabeth Williams, Senior Professional Officer (Wales)
17 March 2020 (See updates, 18 & 19 March 2020 below.)
I attended a telecon with Welsh Government officials and the other education unions this morning.
In these unprecedented times, the Cabinet Minister for Education understands the workforce’s concerns and said the following:
- The Welsh Government will lead on the measures that will be required in schools in Wales, prioritising what is best for learners and the workforce.
- It is important to keep schools open for as long as possible, in order to support key workers who may otherwise have to care for their children, and to ensure that childcare does not fall on adults who may be vulnerable to coronavirus.
- Accountability measures such as attendance of staff and pupils, performance and exam results will be temporarily abandoned, and everything will be done to identify unnecessary burdens on schools.
- This is a constantly changing situation and the Welsh Government is open to recognising the challenges on a day-by-day basis.
- A letter from the Cabinet Minister will be sent later on today to local authorities and schools, which Voice will also share as soon as we receive it.
In addition to this, Estyn has also announced that inspections are to cease immediately, in order to allow schools to focus on the wellbeing of learners and staff.
19 March 2020: Letter to all schools and settings from Kirsty Williams (pdf)
The Welsh Government will continue to hold daily briefings with the unions, so please do contact me with your queries and concerns because I will raise them with Government officials.
In particular, please let me know what guidance would be helpful to be placed on Hwb in order to assist with providing online education, and to communicate with parents, in the event that schools have to close.