Coronavirus (COVID-19) Latest Education Information
Return for Learners September 2021
The Welsh Government recently gave an update for Education in Wales. The Welsh Minister for Education, Jeremy Miles MS, confirmed that local authorities and schools can work towards putting plans in place for the start of the new academic year in September 2021.
The top priority for the Council and all our schools is to consider safety and minimise disruption to learning for our children and young people. We are working closely with Headteachers in Blaenau Gwent to agree a common approach. Your child’s school will be in touch at the start of the new term with the full return details for your child, including details on start and finish times; transport and any catering/lunch arrangements.
Home to School Transport will be available for those who normally access it and full COVID-19 safety controls will be in place. We are continuing to support learners eligible for Free School Meals during the Summer break.
Based on Welsh Government guidance, we are currently planning on a basis that:
• We will no longer be recommending the routine use of face coverings in classrooms
• Contact groups/bubbles will no longer be recommended. However, we will use our Test Trace Protect system in order to identify close contacts of learners who have tested positive, and TTP may contact your school to supplement the information they have gathered with any further intelligence you may have available. Our expectation of the school is that they follow the specific advice you receive from TTP about whether individuals need to self-isolate
• Normal session times will resume, where possible
• Secondary school children and our education workforce should be encouraged to test before returning to school
Welsh Government published an advice notice on the key changes from September along with updated Operational Guidance, which provides further detail on the changes. If further updates need to be issued in the holiday period, we will work with schools to disseminate this information in order to allow time for any necessary adjustments to school provision at the start of term.
The Council and its Schools will work together, using Welsh Government guidelines, to provide COVID-19 secure, fully risk assessed learning environments and more information on this can be found below.
Lateral Flow Testing of Pupils
Secondary schools in Blaenau Gwent are offering regular Lateral Flow Testing for pupils in Years 10 & 11.
All our schools are fully on board with the testing, which is in addition to many other safety measures currently being used in schools. Regular testing can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by picking up asymptomatic cases early on, which can potentially avoid the need for larger groups of contacts having to self-isolate and keeps education safe for our pupils and staff.
The testing process is voluntary, and parents/carers will be required to give their consent for under 16’s.
Please look out for more information from your school who will be touch to obtain consent, and with further detailed guidance and arrangements for testing.
Arrangements for Welsh qualifications 2021 & 2022 (Update 24/03/2021)
Adaptations for 2022 and final details for 2021 have been announced by Qualifications Wales.
Find out more here.