Working together to help schools recover from Covid Pandemic

The Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee has supported a draft ‘Recovery & Renewal Plan’ which sets outs how the Council will work with schools to continue to respond to the challenges of Covid-19, and also beyond the Pandemic order to recover and rebuild.

Throughout the Pandemic, schools in Blaenau Gwent have worked closely and positively with the Council to ensure a consistent approach in responding to the issues and the risks presented by the virus and to implement Welsh Government guidelines. Schools worked swiftly to adapt working and learning practices to support learners and families through these unprecedented times.

There is now a need to look forward at how learners and school staff can be best supported to move forward and thrive. Some of the practices brought about by the Pandemic have been useful and will in fact play a part in the plans going forward, such as the flexibility of online learning where appropriate.

The draft ‘Recovery & Renewal Plan’ is a working document, which will evolve to take into account emerging challenges. Its overarching priority is to:

“Minimise the impact of COVID-19 on learner development and progress, including improving the digital competency of all learners and staff in the wider Blaenau Gwent school community.”

Several key areas for support have been identified including:

• Learners
• Vulnerable Learners
• School Leadership
• Staff (including staff training)
• Childcare
• School Site Management & Operations
• School Support Services (such as ALN and psychology support)
• Working with Partners
• Preventative Health Work
• Safeguarding
• School to School Collaborative Working

There will also be a focus on working with the whole community that surrounds a school including parents and carers; partners and residents.

The recovery plans will continue to monitor the impact of child poverty on learning, including both those families who may have been pushed into poverty as a result of the Pandemic and those who were already facing financial difficulties.

Councillor Joanne Collins, the Council’s Executive Member for Education in Blaenau Gwent says:

“The impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Education has been so far reaching, and once again thank you to all education staff for your hard work and dedication. We have taken the opportunity to reflect on and review the effects of the past 21 months on our whole school community here in Blaenau Gwent. We now need to do all we can to ensure our learners; our school staff and our families are given the very best support to move forward from this, and the ability to continue to access the best teaching and learning opportunities.

“Our relationship with school leaders in Blaenau Gwent is strong, and there is a real appetite for a shared vision to agree and address the key priorities for our children and young people, so that we can maximise their learning opportunities and their well-being.

“The draft plan brings all this together and is an excellent starting point for how we will all work together to address the short, medium and long term recovery of Education here in Blaenau Gwent.”

You can read the report in full here.