Grade 6 students can go back to school first in Wales – hinting at UK coronavirus plan

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Grade 6 students may be the first to return to elementary school as early as June 1, as part of plans being considered by the Welsh government.

Prime Minister Mark Drakeford said that students in the final year of elementary school may be the first to return to prepare for the “rite of passage” to go on to high school in the fall.

It also seeks to prioritize students with special educational needs and those learning in Welsh.

Although the ideas only relate to Wales, they suggest the way forward in the rest of the UK.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that schools will return “gradually” – and plans to send some groups away year after year.



Although the plan only concerns Wales, it alludes to the path that could be taken in the UK

And Boris Johnson said today that he wants elementary school students to return “as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, Drakeford said he wanted to take the same action at the same time as the rest of the UK.

School leaders say June 1 is the earliest date they can reopen, and they will need about three weeks notice.

British ministers have said they will give a lot of notice – which means that early June is the earliest possible reopening date if notice is given this week.

Boris Johnson is expected to discuss the schools when he presents a “roadmap” for adjusting the British lock later in the week.



Boris Johnson expected to discuss schools when he presents a ‘roadmap’ for adjusting the UK lock later in the week (stock photo)

The Prime Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, confirmed that he was “talking about the start of June” as the earliest possible date for schools to reopen.

He said unions and boards advised that three weeks’ notice would be required “at a minimum” to reopen the classrooms.

So “we’re talking about the start of June there,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

He said it “could be” for children in Grade 6 – who have the “rite of passage” from leaving school – to return earlier than younger elementary students.

While the Welsh government is responsible for Welsh schools, he stressed that his “strong preference” is to follow the same plan for the whole of the United Kingdom.

“I want to do it in the UK and I still think it is something we can achieve,” he said.

He added: “We are considering ways to reintegrate young people with special educational needs.

“We are thinking of special year groups, kids in grade 6 in elementary school, kids going to high school.

“We know it’s a rite of passage, you do it with your classmates, and yet you haven’t seen these friends for a few weeks now.

“So it could bring these children back to school earlier than the others.

“We have a bilingual education system here in Wales. Children who learn Welsh and who may not speak Welsh at home – so we need to reintegrate these children sooner.

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“These are the kinds of things that we are currently working on.”

He said the distance was necessary for public health reasons – and to reassure parents, the schools are safe.

Mr. Drakeford added, “You certainly cannot reopen schools like before and maintain social distancing. “

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