Welsh Education Minister @KirstyWilliams has today (Saturday, March 28) called on school staff to do what they can to keep schools open for NHS staff and carers during the two weeks that should have been the Easter holidays.

The Minister thanked all school staff who had met the challenge of keeping more than 700 schools open to support with the immediate response to coronavirus before asking for help in what she described as a ‘time of national need’.

The Minister said: “It takes a community to raise a child and that statement has never been more true.

“In this time of national need, our school community has stepped up and met the challenge.

“More than 700 schools have stayed open to look after the children of NHS staff, carers, people who are saving lives.

“I am now asking you to do more and keep schools open during what would have been school holidays.”

Speaking on a video released on Twitter, the Minister continued:

“It has never been more important for our children and young people to be surrounded by the people they know and trust.

“I am asking you to be flexible, and to offer up some time during the Easter period to continue to support both vulnerable children and the families of our critical workers.”

The Minister was clear that she was not asking school staff to put themselves at risk and reiterated that teachers should follow the latest Welsh Government guidance of making school settings safe and the latest public health advice.

The Minister continued: “Many local authorities have already started to put provision for the Easter holidays in place - we expect all Local Authorities to do the same.

“I would like to thank our workforce unions, both nationally and locally who have worked with us towards the same goals – the welfare of our children, young people and teaching profession, not only teachers, but assistants, catering staff, caretakers and many others.”

The Minister also confirmed that the current provision of assistance to families of children in receipt of free school meals would include the Easter school holiday period.

“Wales has a strong tradition of supporting communities and I can confirm that the funding announced last week to support children in receipt of free school meals can be used to carry on providing free school meals over the Easter holiday,” she said.

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“This will allow local authorities to continue with their local arrangements while we establish a national scheme to support children in receipt of free school meals.

“In devising a national scheme I will ensure that local authorities will still be able to maintain their own approaches, should they want to do so.

“They will have the discretion to opt into a national scheme, or continue to provide flexible support if that is their preference, such as direct payments or deliveries to families who are unable to leave their homes, due to isolation requirements.

“I believe this will be a sustainable approach, that will enable families to budget and plan their spend according to their needs.”

The Minister ended her video message by saying; “Finally, I would like to say how much I, and the people of Wales, appreciate your commitment, your dedication and your goodwill.

“For me, and pupils across Wales, school staff are already our everyday heroes. But now in this time of national need – in supporting the fight against coronavirus – you are national heroes.”

Y Gweinidog Addysg yn gofyn i ‘arwyr cenedlaethol’ gadw ysgolion ar agor ar gyfer y GIG a gofalwyr yn ystod y gwyliau ysgol

Heddiw (dydd Sadwrn, Mawrth 28) galwodd y Gweinidog Addysg, Kirsty Williams, ar staff addysgu i wneud yr hyn a allan nhw i gadw ysgolion ar agor ar gyfer staff y GIG a gofalwyr yn ystod y ddwy wythnos a ddylai fod wedi bod yn wyliau Pasg.

Diolchodd y Gweinidog i bob aelod o staff addysgu a gyfrannodd at gyflawni’r her o gadw mwy na 700 o ysgolion ar agor er mwyn cefnogi’r ymateb uniongyrchol i’r coronafeirws cyn gofyn am help ar adeg a ddisgrifiodd fel ‘cyfnod o angen cenedlaethol’.

Dywedodd y Gweinidog: “Mae angen cymuned gyfan i fagu plentyn, a dyw’r dywediad yna ddim erioed wedi bod yn fwy gwir.

“Yn y cyfnod hwn o angen cenedlaethol, mae ein cymuned addysgu wedi codi ar eu traed ac ymateb i’r her.

“Mae mwy na 700 o ysgolion wedi cadw eu drysau ar agor er mwyn gofalu am blant staff y GIG, gofalwyr, pobl sy’n achub bywydau.

“Dw i nawr yn gofyn ichi wneud mwy eto a chadw’r ysgolion ar agor yn ystod yr hyn a fyddai wedi bod yn wyliau ysgol.”

Wrth siarad ar fideo a ryddhawyd ar Twitter, aeth y Gweinidog yn ei blaen: “Dyw hi ddim erioed wedi bod yn bwysicach i’n plant a’n pobl ifanc gael pobl y maen nhw’n eu nabod ac yn ymddiried ynddyn nhw o’u cwmpas.

“Dw i’n gofyn ichi fod yn hyblyg a chynnig peth amser dros gyfnod y Pasg i barhau i helpu plant bregus ar y naill law, a theuluoedd ein gweithwyr hanfodol ar y llaw arall.”

Roedd y Gweinidog yn glir nad oedd hi’n gofyn i staff ysgolion eu rhoi eu hunain mewn perygl, a dywedodd unwaith eto y dylai athrawon ddilyn canllawiau diweddaraf Llywodraeth Cymru o ran gwneud lleoliadau ysgol yn llefydd diogel, ynghyd â’r cyngor iechyd cyhoeddus diweddaraf.

Aeth y Gweinidog yn ei blaen: “Mae llawer o awdurdodau lleol eisoes wedi dechrau gwneud trefniadau ar gyfer darpariaeth dros y gwyliau Pasg – rydyn ni’n disgwyl i bob awdurdod lleol wneud yr un fath.

“Fe hoffwn i ddiolch i undebau ein gweithlu, yn genedlaethol ac yn lleol, sydd wedi gweithio gyda ni tuag at yr un amcanion – lles ein plant, ein pobl ifanc a’r proffesiwn addysgu; nid dim ond athrawon, ond cynorthwywyr, staff arlwyo, gofalwyr ysgolion a llawer o bobl eraill.

Cadarnhaodd y Gweinidog hefyd y byddai’r cymorth a ddarperir ar hyn o bryd i deuluoedd plant sy’n cael prydau ysgol am ddim yn ymestyn dros gyfnod gwyliau’r Pasg.

“Mae traddodiad cryf o gefnogi cymunedau yng Nghymru, ac fe alla i gadarnhau bod modd defnyddio’r cyllid a gyhoeddwyd yr wythnos diwethaf i helpu plant sy’n cael prydau ysgol am ddim er mwyn parhau i ddarparu prydau ysgol am ddim dros y gwyliau Pasg,” meddai.

“Fe fydd hyn yn caniatáu i awdurdodau lleol barhau â’u trefniadau lleol tra awn ni ati i sefydlu cynllun cenedlaethol i helpu plant sy’n cael prydau ysgol am ddim.

“Wrth greu cynllun cenedlaethol, fe fyddaf yn gofalu bod awdurdodau lleol yn dal i allu dilyn eu trywydd eu hunain, os byddan nhw’n dymuno gwneud hynny.

“Fe fydd rhyddid ganddyn nhw i optio i mewn i gynllun cenedlaethol, neu barhau i ddarparu cymorth hyblyg os mai dyna yw eu dewis, er enghraifft taliadau uniongyrchol neu gyflenwadau i deuluoedd nad ydyn nhw’n gallu gadael eu cartrefi am eu bod yn hunanynysu.

“Dw i o’r farn bod hwn yn ddull gweithredu cynaliadwy a fydd yn galluogi teuluoedd i gyllidebu a chynllunio eu gwariant ar sail eu hanghenion.”

Daeth y Gweinidog â’i neges fideo i ben drwy ddweud: “Yn olaf, fe hoffwn i ddweud cymaint dw i, a phobl Cymru, yn gwerthfawrogi eich ymrwymiad, eich ymroddiad a’ch ewyllys da.

“I mi, ac i ddisgyblion ledled Cymru, mae staff ysgolion eisoes yn arwyr bob dydd. Ond nawr yn y cyfnod hwn o angen cenedlaethol – wrth gefnogi’r frwydr yn erbyn y coronafeirws – rydych chi’n arwyr cenedlaethol.

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