Scotland's biggest teaching union has said that plans for schools to emerge from lockdown could present "the biggest curriculum challenge of this century".
First minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed this afternoon that, while all pupils should have some sort of "face-to-face education" in school from the start of the new – and now earlier than planned – year, this will combine learning at school and at home.
The EIS, Scotland's biggest teaching union, predicted that this "blended" approach would provide "an acute challenge".
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Delivering a new blended learning approach is potentially the biggest curriculum challenge of this century...and it will require significant commitment from all parties to make it work.”
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Mr Flanagan also said: "Our members will welcome the clarity provided by the first minister’s announcement today, and the clear statement that schools will not reopen until after the summer and only if health conditions allow.
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"This will provide valuable time to allow schools to prepare for what will be a very different learning environment, with physical distancing requiring smaller class sizes and schools delivering a blended approach of part-time, in-school learning and part-time remote learning for most pupils."
Mr Flanagan referred to initial analysis of a recent EIS survey, which more than 26,000 teachers responded to, highlighting
concerns around home learning, particularly about pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The EIS repeated a call for three conditions to be met before schools reopen: full test, trace and isolate capacity to be established; a programme for implementing operationally in schools all public health advice, such as physical distancing; and demonstrable evidence that the virus is under control, such as a lower R figure and steady reductions in new cases.
In the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, the first minister said: "I will absolutely give an assurance that we will only open schools when it is safe to do so."