John Swinney: all Scotland's pupils going back to school on same day is 'inconceivable'

Scotland’s education secretary said it would be “inconceivable” for all pupils across the country to return to school at the same time.

Scotland’s education secretary said it would be “inconceivable” for all pupils across the country to return to school at the same time.

John Swinney said children going back to school will have to be “phased” and classes will have to be split with some pupils using certain classrooms in the morning and others in the afternoon to ensure social distancing.

Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was considering a number of measures that could see schools re-open as the country eases its way out of lockdown.

John Swinney, education secretary for Scotland

But Mr Swinney said it is unlikely schools will be run as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, and pupils will experience a very different teaching environment.

He told the BBC: "If people were wondering, would we be in a position any time soon to bring back entire school communities on the basis that they were working before Covid, I think that's inconceivable.

"The idea that schools will be reconvening and all pupils will be back at the same time on the same day is not a circumstance I can envisage any time soon.

"There is clearly disruption to the learning of young people right now and we need to find the most effective way to bring school communities back together again and to make sure that formal learning can be revived.

"What we have to look at is how we might bring schools back on a phased basis with different groups of pupils coming back at different times, or changes to the school day to accommodate different groupings of individual pupils."

He said before giving the green light for schools to open, officials need to establish a plan where schools can operate in a safe manner where they respect social distancing rules.

It has been reported Mr Swinney said the Scottish Government are looking to get children back to school before August.

Part of the UK's exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown includes: pupils going back to school in smaller class sizes, schools reopening before school holidays and a redesign of Scottish classrooms.