Posted: Sun 3rd May 2020

Updated: Sun 3rd May

First Minister clarifies reopening of schools in Wales is ‘not imminent’ after appearing to suggest pupils could return next month

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

The First Minister for Wales has clarified that the reopening of schools is “not imminent”.

It comes despite Mark Drakeford appearing to suggest that some pupils in the country could return as part of a phased approach as early as next month in an interview earlier today.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said three weeks would need to be given for schools to prepare

He then said: “We are talking about the beginning of June there.”

Mr Drakeford later said he was only using June as an example of when children might return to illustrate the timescales.

However, his phrasing has caused confusion, with one union describing the speculation as “unhelpful”.

You can see the views of NAHT Cymru below:

Making his position clearer, Mr Drakeford has now said: “The next phase for schools will only start when it’s safe to do so. One of our key principles for that decision is sufficient time for schools and parents to plan ahead. This is not imminent.

“The next phase will not start until there is further scientific evidence and parental and teacher confidence for that development.”

The communication breakdown occurred less than 24 hours after the official Welsh Government Twitter account chastised several media outlets for suggesting primary schools across the UK would reopen in June.

Their posts referenced the fact that education is devolved in Wales and therefore the Welsh Education Minister will announce when pupils return, rather than the UK Government.

The Education Minister Kirsty Williams also used twitter to reiterate her decision making power:

In an additional tweet she said, “I will continue to keep you updated here on twitter, and through official statements in the Senedd and media. Not through anonymous briefings. It’s too serious for that.”

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