Education Minister’s plan to allow schools to decide own Covid rules ‘shambolic’ claim opposition
Opposition parties have criticised the Welsh Government over their decision to allow schools and universities Wales will be able to decide their own Covid rules.
Yesterday Education Minister Jeremy Miles said that after the summer schools would be able to decide on things like masks, self-isolating and social distancing. Local incident management teams will discuss with schools what the local risk profile is.
But Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives said that putting the onus on schools would place added pressure on overworked staff.
The Conservatives Education Spokesperson Laura Anne Jones MS said that it had amounted to a “confusing and shambolic announcement” and was “falling apart at the seams”.
“On Monday, Labour’s education minister chased an easy headline and said covid-safety measures would be decided locally by schools. Today – after a fierce and understandable backlash from teachers – he’s already started rowing back.
“This is not good enough and it’s clear very little groundwork was done in advance of the press conference, setting hares running without a care for what his proclamation would do. It is clinicians and ministers that should be responsible for such decisions, not headteachers.”
Plaid Cymru’s Spokesperson for Education, Sian Gwenllian MS, added that it was “unfair” to force schools the burden of having to set their own Covid measures.
“Measures intended to keep pupils, staff and the wider community safe need to be driven by data and need to be made by experts,” she said.
“Teaching staff are already facing the huge task of supporting pupils after months of lost education.”
Speaking in the Senedd, Jeremy Miles said that he “didn’t recognise the picture of confusion” the opposition parties described.
“In our discussions with our partners in the education sector direct, we’ve been very clear that we will want to have discussions with them in relation to developments as they occur in schools, and we will always want to have those discussions in advance,” he said.
“As I said in my earlier answer, we are having those discussions during the course of this term, and as to the timing, which is the point she closed with, as I said, we’ll be publishing the framework based on the discussions with our partners before the start of the new school year.
“Schools will have the notice that they need in order to be able to bring in these arrangements in the most effective way. There’s going to be planning that is needed in order to do that, and they will have the time to do that.”