THE start of the school year will go-ahead as normal on September 1 except with special COVID-19 measures.

It will be the first time students return to full-time education since March when the pandemic forced schools to close.

The Government has been working hard over the summer to make sure that both teachers and students are safe.

“To help pupils settle back into their routine as smoothly as possible, different year groups will be welcomed back to school on different days and at different times,” said the Department of Education.

“Precise details of these arrangements will be communicated to parents via each school’s usual channel of communication and on the Department of Education’s website.”

Most of the different school years will restart their education at different times on September 2-4, with Year 12s entering school on the 14th.

Summer hours will operate until September 14 when full days will start as normal.

Year 1 pupils will only attend three sessions a week for the first three weeks of winter hours to get them used to the experience.

More guidelines will be created as public health advice continues to evolve with changing circumstances.

John Cortes Meets Unions
CATCH-UP: Minister for Education John Cortes met with the NASUWT teachers union recently

Challenging times

“I am very pleased to see the return to school of our children after the COVID-19 problems we experienced,” Chief Minister, the Hon. Fabian Picardo said.

“We will continue to work in partnership with teachers and parents as we take all necessary steps to bring our children back into full time education and a return to normality.

“There will, no doubt, be issues going forward – but I am confident that, working together, we will be able to deal with any circumstances that arise.”

For his part, John Cortes, new Minister of Education since Gilbert Licudi’s departure, seemed to have settled back into his role.

“I am excited to see that we will be welcome among our children back to school next week.

“We will do this in partnership with the teachers and their Union and with Public Health Gibraltar to ensure that this is done safely.

“Our children need their schooling and our teachers are longing to engage personally with their pupils once again.”

However, he warned it would not be plain sailing though, with the possibility of more COVID-19 issues.

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