Education, Skills and Children’s Services Recovery Plan

The Director for Education, Skills and Children’s Services has detailed the work undertaken to maintain the safe and effective operation of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic and the preparations made to ensure readiness for any future restrictions on school attendance due to the virus.

In preparation for the return of pupils to Schools across the Western Isles on 11 August 2020, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar ensured that robust COVID-19 risk assessments were carried out and all required safety and hygiene measures were followed.

This framework has kept all schools in Lewis, Harris and Barra open throughout the pandemic. The only disruption to Comhairle schools came following the COVID-19 outbreak in Eriskay and South Uist in late September, where a brief precautionary closure of all Uist schools was enacted for three days.

During the Uist school closures rapid provision was made between the schools themselves and e- Sgoil to provide remote learning to all pupils affected by the closure, demonstrating the resilience of the system.

Comhairle schools are now strongly placed to respond to any future disruption that may be caused by COVID-19, should that affect an individual pupil, a class, a whole school or even all our schools.

Contingency plans are ready to be deployed and the investment in resources, technology and the infrastructure of e-Sgoil means schools can respond rapidly to any changes.

To-date, over 5,000 children and young people from across Scotland have access to various aspects of the COVID-19 related national offer from e-Sgoil. As a home-grown resource, it leaves Comhairle schools strongly placed to access the support that it offers, should it ever be required.

Cllr Angus McCormack said,

“It is vital that we make education a priority for every young person across the Western Isles. With careful adherence to the virus prevention rules by each school in the Western Isles and the recovery framework offered by e-Sgoil it can be said with confidence that this priority will at all times be preserved.”