Education Minister, Kirsty Williams

The Welsh Government has today (15 May) published a document setting out how it is considering the next phase for schools and colleges, in response to COVID-19.

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has described the working document as “setting out our current thinking” for how schools, other education settings and childcare providers’ operations will change to allow social distancing and other factors.

Most schools have been closed since the start of the pandemic, with some open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

The Decision framework for the next phase of education and childcare  builds on the five principles published by the Minister last month.

The Welsh Government is working with scientists, public health experts, teachers, education providers, trade unions and local authorities to consider the options for the next phase for schools and settings with similar challenges, such as childcare providers and further education colleges.

The First Minister today published a ‘roadmap’ for how the Welsh Government will move out of the lockdown phase.

Kirsty Williams said:

“As the Education Minister for Wales, I will make the decisions on how and when more pupils in Wales will return to school. Today I am sharing further information on how those decisions will be reached.

“Nothing would make me happier than seeing our classrooms full again. But I want to be clear that this framework does not – and I will not - set an arbitrary date for when more pupils will return to school. Setting a date before we have more evidence, more confidence and more control over the virus would be the wrong thing to do.

"This will not be one decision but a series of decisions over time increasing, or if need be, decreasing operation. These changes will be complex, with many different considerations. I want the working document to be a stimulus for wider discussion and feedback.

“I am sharing this today to be as transparent as possible. I want everyone to know the extent of the issues related to the next phase. 

“When we are ready to move into that next phase, I will ensure that there is enough time for preparation and for staff to carry out any necessary training.”

Margaret Davies, Head of St Christopher’s School in Wrexham, said:

“We’ve been fortunate to be working alongside the Welsh Government and head teachers on our return to school plans. Basing plans on the most up-to-date information and evidence has given me the confidence that, when we are ready to open our schools, this will be done as safely as possible.

Gwenllian Lansdown-Davies, Chief Executive of Mudiad Meithrin, said:

“I’m glad to be invited to contribute to the work, given the innate importance of the sector in its own right and how integral it will be to the re-openings of schools as well.”

Simon Pirotte, Chief Executive of Bridgend College, added:

“Our Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has been quite clear that the health and well-being of our staff and learners is paramount and decisions will be based on a solid bank of evidence. I’m confident that, through working together in Wales, we can manage this transition”

The Decision framework for the next phase of education and childcare: considerations planning and challenges

On 28 April, the Education Minister sets out five key principles for schools’ return:

  • The safety and mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of students and staff
  • Continuing contribution to the national effort and strategy to fight the spread of Covid-19
  • Having the confidence of parents, staff and students - based on evidence and information - so that they can plan ahead
  • Ability to prioritise learners at key points, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Having guidance in place to support measures such as distancing, managing attendance and wider protective actions.

Y Gweinidog Addysg yn datgan ‘y ffordd o feddwl’ am ddychwelyd i ysgolion

Heddiw mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi cyhoeddi dogfen sy’n datgan sut mae’n ystyried y cam nesaf i ysgolion, fel ymateb i COVID-19.

Mae’r Gweinidog Addysg, Kirsty Williams, wedi disgrifio’r ddogfen waith fel un sy’n “datgan ein ffordd o feddwl ar hyn o bryd” ar gyfer sut bydd gweithrediadau ysgolion, lleoliadau addysg eraill a darparwyr gofal plant yn newid er mwyn caniatáu cadw pellter cymdeithasol a ffactorau eraill.

Mae’r rhan fwyaf o ysgolion wedi bod ar gau ers dechrau’r pandemig, gyda rhai ar agor ar gyfer plant gweithwyr allweddol a phlant agored i niwed.

Mae’r Fframwaith penderfyniadau ar gyfer y cam nesaf i addysg a gofal plant: ystyriaethau, cynlluniau a heriau yn adeiladu ar y pum egwyddor a gyhoeddwyd gan y Gweinidog fis diwethaf.

Mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn gweithio gyda gwyddonwyr, arbenigwyr iechyd y cyhoedd, athrawon, darparwyr addysg, undebau llafur ac awdurdodau lleol i ystyried yr opsiynau ar gyfer y cam nesaf i ysgolion a lleoliadau gyda heriau tebyg, fel darparwyr gofal plant a cholegau addysg bellach.    

Cyhoeddodd Prif Weinidog Cymru heddiw cynllun ar gyfer sut bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn symud allan o’r cyfyngiadau presennol.    

Dywedodd Kirsty Williams:

“Fel Gweinidog Addysg Cymru, byddaf yn gwneud penderfyniadau am sut a phryd bydd mwy o ddisgyblion yng Nghymru’n dychwelyd i’r ysgol. Heddiw, rwyf yn rhannu rhagor o wybodaeth am sut bydd y penderfyniadau hynny’n cael eu gwneud.

“Ni fyddai unrhyw beth yn fy ngwneud i’n hapusach na gweld ein hystafelloedd dosbarth yn llawn eto. Ond rydw i eisiau dweud yn glir nad yw’r fframwaith hwn – ac na fyddaf i – yn pennu dyddiad mympwyol ar gyfer pryd bydd rhagor o ddisgyblion yn dychwelyd i’r ysgol. Byddai pennu dyddiad cyn bod gennym ni fwy o dystiolaeth, mwy o hyder a mwy o reolaeth dros y feirws yn beth anghywir i’w wneud.       

“Nid un penderfyniad fydd hwn, ond cyfres o benderfyniadau dros amser yn cynyddu, neu os bydd angen, yn cyfyngu ar weithrediad. Bydd y newidiadau hyn yn gymhleth, gyda llawer o ystyriaethau gwahanol. Rwy’’ am i'r ddogfen waith annog adborth a thrafodaeth ehangach.

"Rwy'n rhannu hyn heddiw i fod mor dryloyw â phosibl. Rwy’ am i bawb wybod hyd a lled y materion sy'n gysylltiedig â'r cam nesaf. 

"Pan fyddwn ni'n barod i symud i'r cam nesaf, byddaf yn sicrhau bod digon o amser i baratoi ac i'r staff wneud unrhyw hyfforddiant angenrheidiol."

Dywedodd Margaret Davies, Pennaeth Ysgol Sant Christopher yn Wrecsam:

"Rydyn ni wedi bod yn ffodus i fod yn gweithio law yn llaw â Llywodraeth Cymru a phenaethiaid ar ein cynlluniau dychwelyd i'r ysgol. Mae seilio cynlluniau ar y wybodaeth a'r dystiolaeth ddiweddaraf wedi rhoi'r hyder imi, pan fyddwn yn barod i agor ein hysgolion, y bydd hyn yn cael ei wneud mor ddiogel â phosibl”.

Dywedodd Gwenllian Lansdown-Davies, Prif Weithredwr Mudiad Meithrin:

"Rwy'n falch o gael fy ngwahodd i gyfrannu at y gwaith, o gofio mor bwysig yw'r sector yn ei hawl ei hun a pha mor hanfodol fydd hi i ail-agor ysgolion hefyd."

Ychwanegodd Simon Pirotte, Prif Weithredwr Coleg Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr:

"Mae ein Gweinidog Addysg, Kirsty Williams, wedi bod yn eithaf clir mai iechyd a lles ein staff a'n dysgwyr sydd bwysicaf a bydd penderfyniadau yn seiliedig ar fanc o dystiolaeth gadarn. Rwy'n hyderus y gallwn, drwy weithio gyda'n gilydd yng Nghymru, reoli'r newid hwn "

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