Scotland sets out plans to reopen childcare providers and schools

22 May 2020

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that schools in Scotland will reopen on 11 August at the start of the new school year and an increased number of children will have access to critical childcare, as she unveiled a four-phase "route map" aimed at restarting society while suppressing the virus.

The plans are subject to scientific evidence at the time and are detailed in a new report, A strategic framework for reopening schools, early learning and childcare provision, by the education recovery group. The document sets out how there will be transition back to a greater level of face-to-face education in schools and early learning and childcare (ELC) settings as soon as this is able to happen safely. It is based upon a blended model of in-school and in-home learning for school-age children, and prioritisation of access to contact time in ELC.

All childcare providers are expected to reopen over the summer during Phase 3 of the plans subject to public health measures, with available capacity prioritised to support key worker childcare, early learning and childcare entitlement and children in need. Any remaining capacity should be used to meet the childcare needs of other working families.

However, childminder services and fully outdoor nursery provision can reopen from Phase 1 of the plans which is likely to start from 28 May when the lockdown is next due for review, but only if measures to suppress Covid-19 continue to be successful.

Ms Sturgeon said:

"This will be a very gradual process as we monitor how changing behaviour affects the infection rate and we will only be able to move toward easing more restrictions if we continue to work together to suppress the virus."

"Protecting lives will continue to be our number one priority, and I am confident that people across Scotland will continue to pull together in this national endeavour as we return to some kind of normality."

"At all stages in this process, we have listened to the views of people and organisations in Scotland, and have been guided by the latest scientific advice, and that approach will continue going forward."