Posted: Tue 23rd Jun 2020

Flintshire Council confirms schools will re-open for only three weeks before summer holidays and not four

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jun 23rd, 2020

Schools across Flintshire are gearing up for the restart next Monday to allow pupils to ‘check in, catch up, and prepare for September’.

As part of the Welsh Government’s ‘Check in, Catch Up, Prepare for Summer and September’ pupils will be able to attend school from June 29th.

However, it will only be for three weeks and not the four initially stated.

Education minister Kirsty Williams announced earlier this month that the school summer term would be extended by a week to 27 July, and the autumn half-term holiday extended to two weeks.

The Welsh Government and unions have not been able to reach “a common position” on the proposal to extend the summer term by one week.

Schools may have been left with insufficient staff to deliver the fourth week safely on voluntary basis as they are not contractually obliged to work in the holidays.

During the daily briefing on Monday, first minister Mark Drakeford was asked if the Welsh government had given parents ‘false promises’ over the announcement that schools would open for four weeks, he said:

“The Education Minister set the position of the Welsh Government that where it’s possible to do so we believe it is in the interest of children in Wales for schools to open for four weeks.

But it was always the case that the fourth week as we will clear the beginning, moved into non-contractual territory.

Our proposal was the teachers would work for one extra week, the fourth week in July, and get that week back as an extra week holiday in the October half term.

But in the end, these things can only be resolved locally, different local authorities face many, many different sorts of contexts.

Where local authorities are able to open schools for the fourth week, that is the right thing to do, but where they’re not able to do it, then they as the employers have to be allowed to make that decision.

They need to make it in consultation with their headteachers, with their staff, and, indeed with their parents. It is for them to carry that discussion with the fourth week forward.”

In a letter the parents Flintshire Councils Chief Officer, Education & Youth Claire Hommard said the Welsh Government hadn’t been able to agree on a deal, contradicting the first minister’s statement that a deal with unions ‘can only be resolved locally.’ 

In her letter, Clair Hommard said: This letter will provide you with further information in respect of school-based  learning for all pupils and emergency childcare provision for eligible children available in Flintshire for the rest of the summer term which will now end as originally planned on 17 July.

This is because Welsh Government and the trade unions have not been able to reach a common position on the proposal to extend the summer term by one week to 24 July, as previously announced by the Education Minister Kirsty Williams.

We would have hoped to have seen these issues resolved but in the absence of a national agreement, the Council has had to make a decision to be able to give schools sufficient time to plan properly.

There would be no guarantee that schools would have sufficient staff available to deliver the fourth week safely on voluntary basis as staff are not contractually obliged to work in the holidays.

The Council has a duty to ensure the safety of its pupils and staff first and foremost.”

 

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