After-school sports in Edinburgh will restart after half-term break

AFTER-SCHOOL sports are to restart after the half-term break following a months-long pause due to coronavirus.

By Ian Swanson
Monday, 12th October 2020, 7:00 am
Many independent schools have already restarted after-school sports
Many independent schools have already restarted after-school sports

The move was announced after both the Conservatives and the Greens tabled motions for tomorrow’s education committee calling for sports to be allowed to begin again amid concerns that pupils were missing out and being put at a disadvantage compared with their independent school counterparts.

The city council said after the reopening of schools in August, sports teams and school staff had been working on plans to let pupils back to sports like football, rugby, hockey and volleyball.

Tory education spokesman Callum Laidlaw welcomed the move. “I’m pleased it appears, following the pressure exerted by putting forward a motion to the education committee, the council has made this decision to bring back school sports and create an equal playing field with the independent sector.

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“Many of the national governing bodies for sports have put in place guidelines for how they can be played safely. Many independent schools have already taken those on board and restarted sports so we just wanted to do the same thing.

“Pupils have been missing out and it has aggravated the gap between the independent sector and the state sector, particularly for high-performing young people who want to get onto national teams – they have been missing out on vital training which their counterparts in the independent schools have not.”

Green education spokesman Steve Burgess said it was good the council seemed to have “finally seen sense”.

He said: “While the motive to minimise the spread of Covid among children and young people is absolutely the right one, that can’t justify a sweeping blanket ban on activities like school football clubs, which take place outdoors and according to Scottish Government guidance, are low risk. I hope to see children and young people back out playing on pitches very soon.”

Education convener Ian Perry said following the safe return of schools the council was now ready to focus on the phased reintroduction of extra-curricular activities.

"Our sports teams and school staff have been working hard to plan how to get these activities back up and running and it’s great the plans are now in place. We will of course keep these arrangements under review should national guidance change over the coming weeks.”

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