“No child should be left behind” says Plaid’s Siân Gwenllian

As Wales awaits the verdict from Welsh Government on the reopening of schools, Siân Gwenllian calls for refinement of remote learning and regular contact with every pupil to ensure no child was “left behind”.

Welsh Government Education Minister Kirsty Williams is expected to update the Senedd today (Wednesday) on the re-opening of schools in Wales.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Education Siân Gwenllian MS said the coronavirus pandemic had shown how vital the education system is, but at the same time had exposed how entrenched poverty and the so-called ‘digital divide’ is in society.

Ms Gwenllian said children who lack access to adequate broadband and laptops are losing out. They are also losing out if the home environment is not suited to learning: where there is little encouragement or if the physical space is simply not available.

It is expected that the return to schools will be phased, with a combination of small groups and distance learning likely to be the norm for a long period.

Siân Gwenllian MS also said that now is the time to “re-visit” discussions on changing school terms permanently.

The benefit of reworking the school term plan now, says the Shadow Education Minister, is that this will give pupils more stability and continuity in such an unstable time.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Education Sian Gwenllian MS said,

“Refining remote learning must be central to the plans for the phased re-opening of schools.

“If we get distance learning right, then this opens up so many possibilities and allows a gradual return to schools, when it is safe to do so and fully supported by the science.

“The focus on closing the ‘digital divide’ should be integral to future planning as we continue to strive to close the attainment gap.

“In the meantime, we need to re-visit discussions about re-configuring the annual school pattern to give pupils better stability and continuity of learning during these unprecedented times.

“For children who are not supported with their learning in the home environment, the longer this goes on, the more we risk them falling behind – and no child should be left behind.”