Teachers return to school to prepare for August opening

STV News visited St Ninian's High School in East Renfrewshire to see how the new set-up could work.

Teachers have started to return to school to prepare for pupils going back in August.

Over the summer they will be working to ensure they can comply with social distancing guidelines to keep the risk of coronavirus transmission to a minimum.  

Classes will be severely reduced in size, and teaching in school will be combined with home learning.

STV News visited St Ninian’s High School in East Renfrewshire to see how the new set-up could work.

Headteacher John Docherty said: “There will be specific entrances for specific subjects.

“There will have to be a one-way system and we will have to split the corridor. And that corridor split will be linked to entry and exit points into and out of the school.

“If we educate our young people and our colleagues into making sure that we keep the social distance, I have no doubt that the pupils, the young people and the staff will respond to that accordingly.”

Not all of the 1800 students at the school will be in at the same time – with some in during the morning and others in the afternoon.

Classrooms that would normally hold 30 will be cut to as little as ten to keep pupils apart.

The aim is to maximise face-to-face teaching time with the rest dedicated to home learning.

Blocks of time will also be allocated to specific subjects.

Mr Docherty added: “The aim is to make sure that every young person has a contact through that week, a minimum of at least one.”

Whilst St Ninian’s is a high-achieving school, there are concerns the reliance on home learning could leave pupils elsewhere falling behind.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of EIS, said: “There’s a broader concern around how the curriculum will be delivered.

“And in particular how we can make sure that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are not further disadvantaged by the IT requirements that are going to be there about the lack of the personal support that would be there in classroom scenarios.”

For all, school life is set to look very different.

Mr Docherty said: “The biggest challenge is to make sure that we give the young people the best education possible.

“And if we can deliver that, then we will have gone someway to alleviating the particular crisis that we are all facing at this moment in time.”

Work to ensure a smooth return will continue until August 11.

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