ARGYLL and Bute Council says the safety of pupils, teachers and staff "will be the priority" as it begins preparations for students returning to school for the new session in August.

At a meeting of the local authority's Business Continuity Committee this week, members heard about work which is ongoing to prepare for the re-opening of schools, as part of a discussion about the steps the council is taking to support businesses and communities affected by Covid-19.

Schools across Scotland remain closed until June and this year's exam schedule has been cancelled, with young people being assured they will get the qualifications they deserve based on previous work.

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The council’s policy lead for education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “We want to be prepared for welcoming our young people back as soon as we can do that safely. When and how that happens will depend very much on national guidance.

“We know that our young people and families are missing their schools in lots of ways. We are therefore looking already at different scenarios that might apply for schools re-opening, so that we are prepared.

“Responding to Covid-19 is a fairly fast-moving and changing situation, so August is too far away just now to predict how education services will work then.

"What’s certain is that the safety of our pupils, teachers and school staff will be the priority.

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“I have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of hard work that’s been going on behind the scenes by the education service and families, to deliver access to learning for our young people.

“However, as I have said previously, every child is at a different stage on their educational journey and every child has different needs.

"Parents need to do what works best for their household and not put too much pressure on themselves while trying to home-school during lockdown.

"Any parents needing help or advice during this time can call our Parent and Carer Support Line on 01546 605524.”

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