Foundation phase will return to school in Wales after half term, Education Minister confirms

Education Minister Kirsty Williams. Picture by the Welsh Government

Foundation phase school children will return to school after half tern, the Education Minister has confirmed.

Further steps will be announced on February 19th, she said.

“We have prioritised our youngest learners because of the favourable evidence on transmission in younger children, and also because we know they find it difficult to learn remotely,” she said.

“Small numbers of vocational learners, including apprentices, will also be able to return to colleges. Again, this is because of difficulties with remote learning, as they will need to access training or workplace environments in order to undertake their practical qualifications.

“Following productive discussions with our union colleagues and local authority and further education partners, we are introducing a number of additional measures to provide staff with an added level of assurance for their safe return to face to face teaching.

“This includes the introduction of twice-weekly testing for staff members as well as increased financial support for new face coverings.

“We are providing an additional £5m to support schools, colleges and local authorities to invest further in items they need to keep their premises safe.”

‘Contact’

Kirsty Williams added that they could take the steps they had today because “the headroom had been created by the Welsh people”.

The seven day case rate for Wales has fallen to 130 cases per 100,000 people, according to the latest Public Health Wales figures.

She added however that there should not be any play dates, sleepovers or birthday parties outside of schools when schools do return in mid-February.

Ms Williams urged: “Please continue to follow the guidelines. By following the guidance restricting contact with others, we are ensuring children and young people are able to do what we all want, which is to be back learning with their friends.”

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