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We must be wary of lifting Covid mitigations measures too quickly

Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language

NAHT Cymru comments on Covid measures within schools

In response to First Minister Mark Drakeford’s comments today (21 Jan) on mitigations in schools, Laura Doel, NAHT Cymru Director said:

“Schools are still suffering as a result of Covid, with high levels of staff absence and therefore we must be wary of lifting the mitigations measures that are currently in schools too quickly. 

“No-one wants stricter mitigations in schools than in the rest of society, however we have to remember, particular in primary schools, that these are largely unvaccinated places.  We know Omicron is more transmissible and even with the current mitigations in place schools are barely managing to keep the doors open. 

“We are working with the Welsh Government on a plan for schools but we believe, given the ongoing disruption in schools, that a slow and steady approach is the right one.”

Schools and colleges will receive £103 million in Welsh Government funding, as learners return for the January term.

5th Jan 2022: £50m will be provided via local authorities through the Sustainable Communities for Learning programme. The funding will help schools carry out capital repair and improvement work, with a focus on health and safety measures, such as improving ventilation. The funding will also be used to support decarbonisation.

£45m of revenue funding will also help support school budgets, assisting schools as they continue to deal with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and to prepare for the requirements of the new curriculum.

An additional £8m will be provided to further education colleges, to ensure learning can continue safely and ensure the most disadvantaged learners are not further impacted by the pandemic.

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, said:

“I know schools and colleges have faced a very difficult time and everyone across the workforce has worked incredibly hard to meet the challenges of the pandemic. This funding will further support our schools and colleges to keep settings as Covid-secure as possible.

“While we want to support the sector in recovering from the pandemic, we also have to make sure we continue to plan for the future, and help all education settings across Wales fulfil our collective goals of making Wales a net-zero nation.

“The funding announced today will help us to ensure sustainability across the sector – be that the environmental sustainability achieved through decarbonisation, or sustainability in provision.”

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