Covid Scotland: Children’s Commissioner calls on ministers to carry out review of guidance on nursery graduations

Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner has called on ministers to review Covid-19 guidance which prevents parents from attending special ceremonies to mark their child finishing nursery.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:54 pm

Graduation-style ceremonies are being held in pre-school settings across the country as youngsters finish their education there, before starting at primary school in August.

The National Day Nurseries Association said the childcare settings had “introduced a wide range of measures to keep children, staff and parents safe”, and insisted they should be “trusted to make sensible judgments about their settings and ability to be able to mark children’s graduation within Government guidance”.

Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson has now joined those who are calling for ministers to review the guidance.

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He tweeted: “Transitions are an important part of children’s right to development. In a year of disruption and uncertainty we need to do more to uphold children’s rights to education, socialisation and play while balancing rights to public health and @scotgov should review the guidance.”

Martin Canavan, who works for the children’s charity Aberlour, said his daughter was in tears when she was told her parents would not be allowed to attend the ceremony.

He tweeted: “They’ve been rehearsing their song for weeks. It feels like a pretty arbitrary decision to cancel these events when thousands can watch football, and people can drink in pubs.”

Deputy First Minister and Covid Recovery Secretary John Swinney has already told MSPs that the pandemic means such events are not permitted.

Graduation-style ceremonies are being held in pre-school settings as youngsters finish their education there, before starting primary school in August.

He said that Covid-19 safety guidance “seeks to minimise the number of contacts children and staff in early learning and childcare settings by limiting adult visitors to those that are strictly necessary”.

Speaking in Holyrood on Tuesday, he added: “The application of that guidance would mean that such events that would involve parents attending the nursery or its grounds are generally not permitted currently.”

Mr Swinney said that a number of nurseries are looking at “alternative ways” to celebrate these “landmark moments” which do not involve parents gathering together at nurseries or other settings.

“The Government will certainly be happy to share information on the different alternatives,” he added.

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