Schools can return at full capacity in Wales

9 July 2020, 12:41 | Updated: 9 July 2020, 13:03

Schools in Wales
Schools in Wales. Picture: Welsh Government

The Welsh Government's Education Minister Kirsty Williams has made a big announcement on how schools will look from September.

Speaking at the Welsh Government's daily Coronavirus briefing she said that from Tuesday September 1st, all schools in Wales that can accommodate all pupils full time should do so.

However, she added that some schools may want to give preference to priority year groups at first - with a two week "integration period". That means every pupil would be expected back full time from the 14th of September.

Referring to the scientific advice from the Welsh Technical Advisory Group, she said they had advised that schools can reopen at full capacity with "limited social distancing".

She explained that the latest advice from experts, based on a continuing decline of cases of Coronavirus, said that there would need to be limited social distancing in social groups of children but that adults would need to continue to follow more stringent measures.

Schools will be provided with Coronavirus testing kids and would also need to have plans should an outbreak of the virus be linked to their school, requiring reducing pupil numbers again.

Meanwhile, a £29 million pound supports package has been announced with the aim of recruiting 600 more teachers and 300 teaching assistants and support staff.

Will parents who chose not to send their children back face action?

The Minister said that she understood the position of some who were not confident to send their children back to school.

She confirmed that fines would not be pursued for some time but added that schools would be reaching out to parents to help reassure them of the safety measures and scientific advice.