Edinburgh primary school parents hit out at schools for photo call-offs branding it 'mean spirited'
Disappointed parents told their p1s won’t be getting school portrait photos due to covid-19 safety fears have hit out at the decision calling it pointless and ‘mean spirited’.
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One mum whose daughter is primary 1 pupil at a primary school in Leith said covid-19 was ‘no excuse’ for cancelling end of year photos – while pubs are allowed to reopen.
Parent groups have condemned the lack of consistency across the city, saying it’s unfair that some children will get photos while others will miss out.
The council says its latest guidance to schools states photos are permitted outdoors if safety guidelines are followed and children remain in their bubbles.
But parents whose children attend Holy Cross and other schools in the capital say they were told no photos would be taken, or only class photos would be offered with no individual portraits.
It comes as restrictions are lifted while Edinburgh moved to level 2 along with most of the country.
Meanwhile, a decision is expected from Scottish Government this week on whether Midlothian will need to tighten restrictions, after the latest figures show rising cases.
Midlothian is among areas with the highest case rates per 100,000 people along with Glasgow, Moray and East Renfrewshire.
The mother whose daughter attends Holy Cross Primary said: "There’s a lot of disappointment that covid-19 is being used as an excuse not to do the photos, even though all the restrictions are lifting now. The kids never got one last year either. It’s a special milestone for little ones and they could really do with some normality just now after what they have been through. Why can’t they just do photos in the bubbles, or even outside in the playground? It seems low risk so not taking the photos is pointless.”
"We are going to write a letter to the school as a group because we got nowhere individually. And if they don’t do it we will just set up our own photo shoot. Ultimately we want to remember primary 1, it's an important record for our kids. Can we not turn the page now? I mean, pubs are reopening. This just seems mean spirited.”
Parents from some schools including Blackhall primary and Liberton said photos were going ahead in class groups, while Trinity primary and others said no photos were planned.
Several Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) including Roseburn primary have organised photos of primary 1 children, after schools said they would be cancelled again this year.
One PTA told the Evening News they tried to organise single portraits for p1s later in the year on school grounds but had problems getting permission and insurance for the photographer to come onto school grounds.
Jo Bissett, UsforThem Scotland said: “It seems so simple to organise for p1s to have their photos taken. Some are getting it and some are not, it’s unfair to have this patchwork provision. The photo is a once in a lifetime event, schools need to rethink a can’t do attitude. Young children have been expected to cope with so much during the pandemic, why can’t we let them have this? It’s just not good enough.”
A council spokesperson said: ““We’ve issued guidance to all our schools that photographs can take place as long as the pupils remain in their class bubbles, the pictures are taken outdoors and the latest health guidelines are followed.”