Statement on return to school

ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations President, Kirsty McGovern-Hooley, this morning said the following in relation to the plan to return to school announced by Minister Berry:

Our parent representatives have collected feedback from their communities and the Minister and Directorate have listened to this. They have heard parent concerns, views and needs. We continue to encourage all parents to feed back any difficulties or views about the plan to their school's P&C Association, or directly to us at Council.

Parents are pleased to have a clear plan in place for the return to school, which is linked to Health advice. But views about the return are mixed. 

The hub schools were not working and kids will be looking forward to returning to their local school. We are pleased to see a rapid response to these difficulties.  

Remote learning was not really working for young kids so we are glad P-2 students are heading back first, along with Year 7s who have had a very difficult start to their new school environment. Parents and students in Year 11 and 12 with practical subjects have been especially anxious and look forward to details on the return to college.

Remote learning is not tenable for students in specialist schools and parents and carers of these families are desperate for support. We want students from these schools to feel free to return as soon as possible. 

Parents asked for a week’s notice to head back to school, so we are pleased by the amount of notice given. 

We are glad to see that students who, for medical reasons, need to remain at home will continue to be able to access remote learning. We are asking that they are continued to be supported to engage with their learning. 

We understand parents will get direct information from their schools this morning. Parents need really clear communication around the plan for return, offers of help and support, and the details of new protocols and procedures, like where to drop off and pick up kids, santising, absences and so on.  For students with additional learning needs or disabilities, really clear information is required on the exact arrangements. 

Council is asking for  

    • Support for families in the transition. Some children need additional transition time, some families require additional engagement and support 
    • Schools to directly contact vulnerable families to see what they need 
    • The Directorate to continue to work with After School Care providers to ensure families have the services they need.