Further to public health advice, Christmas and New Year school holiday dates will remain as planned.
The timing of school holidays, which vary around Scotland, had been raised with Ministers in the Education Recovery Group, given many schools break up very close to Christmas and the potential for increased social interaction in households following the limited relaxation of rules between 23 and 27 December.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP said:
“Being in school is in the best interests of children and our priority remains to ensure schools are safe, and open. I want to thank school leaders, teachers and school staff for their outstanding commitment to education that has enabled children and young people to learn safely in school since August.
“The advice I have received from public health officials, and the COVID-19 Sub-group on Education and Children’s Issues, is not to alter Christmas and New Year holiday dates.
“We also know vulnerable children may be at greater risk if they are out of school for an extended period, and I am mindful of the impact an extension to school holidays would have for working parents. For these reasons I do not see a clear rationale for changing term dates and disrupting children’s education."
Kenneth Gibson MSP, who sits on the Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee, said:
“I welcome this early and decisive announcement, which provides parents and carers across Scotland with the necessary reassurances for the weeks ahead.
“Of course it will not be a regular Christmas and I urge everyone to keep each other safe.
“As someone who advocated for schools to reopen earlier on, I believe the right approach is being taken for the right reasons.”
Read more details about the COVID-19 Sub-group on Education and Children’s Issues, including a list of members.