How will the new school term look in your area?

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social distancing in classroomImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Class sizes will have to be limited to allow for social distancing

When pupils return to Scotland's schools from 11 August they will experience a new term like no other. From the playground to the classroom, everything will look and feel different. BBC Scotland asked each of the country's 32 local authorities about their plans for 2020/21.

Aberdeen City

The council has yet to specify how many days a week pupils will attend school as part of its blended learning programme.

But a spokesman says it take a "local and individual-school based approach".


Modelling is being carried out to see what options are available where all, half or one third of pupils are in school at any one time.

As is the case across Scotland, the local authority said the two key factors are available space and staff.

Laurence Findlay, director of education, says: "While we would all prefer not to be operating within the context of a pandemic, we recognise this is likely to pose significant challenges for some time to come."


Schools in Angus are looking to accommodate children for a minimum of two days per week but the proposals vary from school to school due to size and staff availability.

The main challenge in secondary schools, as it is across the country, will be timetabling for different subjects.

Argyll & Bute

Education officials are in the process of finalising the new models.

A council spokeswoman said: "Keeping staff and pupils safe is our priority and we are following national health guidance in making changes to how schools will safely reopen to staff and pupils."


The council has told parents that only 33% of children would be in school at any one time when the new term starts.

Headteachers will be in contact before 24 June to let people know which days their child will be in school.


Plans are being finalised with schools and local authority officials hope to be in a position to provide more clarity later this week.

Western Isles

The council said it needs to calculate the maximum number of pupils that can safely access the school while maintaining two metre physical distancing.

This will then need to be considered against staff availability.

It will be the responsibility of each head teacher to confirm the maximum number of pupils in each area of the building, including exploring the use of nearby buildings not typically used.

Dumfries & Galloway

The plan is for pupils to attend school two days a week and spend the other three schooling at home.

Council experts are currently examining the capacity of buildings and the number of teachers needed.

A report is due at the end of next week.


The council said its schools are working on the exact details at the moment, tailored to its pupil roll and layout.

A spokesman said: "We want to get it right for everyone."

East Ayrshire

Each school is assessing their own needs but there is no precise breakdown yet of what the classroom and home learning split will be.

The council confirmed outdoor learning will be used wherever possible.

East Dunbartonshire

There will be a standard approach across the primary sector and a more tailored approach for secondary schools, where the demands of the curriculum are more complex.

The council said details are still being finalised but will be confirmed before the end of the month.

East Lothian

Planning is under way and the council received more than 8,200 responses from a parents' survey.

Lesley Brown, chief operating officer for education, wrote to families this week.

She said: "Whilst we are aiming for 50% of the school able to attend at any one time, in some of our primary and secondary schools this may not be possible. Please be assured that we will continue to keep this under review and do everything we can to maximise the amount of time your child can safely spend in school."

East Renfrewshire

Plans are still being finalised and the council hopes to share this information with parents "in the coming days".


The blended learning model will feature staggered start and finish times and breaks to reduce the number of pupils entering and leaving the buildings at any given time.

The council says it will make sure siblings are in school at the same time "as much as possible" but acknowledged transport will be a challenge.


Pupils will attend primary school two days a week, while secondary schools will feature a more bespoke model, which must also take account of transport.

The local authority said it will start with one day at week with the aim of getting as close to 50% as possible.


Scotland's largest local authority has more than 300 schools and nurseries and it says it will not have a "one size fits all" model.

Plans are still being drafted and parents will be contacted by the council in the coming weeks.

A blueprint for one city secondary school, obtained by BBC Scotland, would see pupils in three days one week and two days the next.

Another, for a primary school, would see half the pupils attend on Mondays and Tuesdays and half on Thursdays and Fridays.


The council has 203 schools and is currently drafting "personalised approaches" for each of them.


Primary children will attend school two days a week while secondary pupils will attend five days over a two week period.

School playgrounds will open an hour before teaching begins and close an hour afterwards to help with the phased return and to assist parents with childcare arrangements, if needed.

The council said high schools will be open to pupils five days a week but primaries will be closed on a Wednesday, except for children of key workers, to allow teachers to carry out planning for remote learning.


The local authority said plans are still being finalised and will be shared with parents and carers later this week.


The council said its recovery models for each individual school are impacted by issues such as transport, sibling attendance, school roll size and space.

Classrooms are being reconfigured to allow physical distancing and each school will communicate their specific plan with families.

North Ayrshire

The local authority said pupils will attend school two days per week and there will be temporary adjustments to start/finish times and breaks.

North Lanarkshire

The model of blended learning will see a minimum of two days a week in-class teaching supplemented by an "enhanced online digital learning" offering at home.

The council says there will always be a proportion of pupils benefiting from 50% in-school learning in any given week.

The days of the week that each year group attends will be decided locally by each school and the timetables will be communicated to parents and carers as soon as they are confirmed.


The local authority hope to have a clearer picture this week.

Perth & Kinross

The council says each school's different circumstance is being taken into account as part of its plans.

It also confirmed parents and carers will be advised before the end of June what the attendance arrangements will be in August.


Primary pupils will attend two days a week, with half attending on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other half on Thursdays and Fridays.

The local authority said secondary pupils will receive ten blocks - each lasting 2.5 hours - of face-to-face teaching time a fortnight.

Scottish Borders

Details are still being finalised but the council will share them with parents in the coming weeks.

Shetland Islands

The council said it has a "very diverse school estate" and requires a bespoke model of delivery.

Like many local authorities its plans have yet to be confirmed.

South Ayrshire

The majority of pupils will attend school two days per week.

The council is currently considering a range of options including classroom layout, arrangements for the beginning and end of the day, staggered intervals and lunches, floor markings and new signage.

South Lanarkshire

Tony McDaid, executive director of education resources, said: "The final details of what days and for how long each pupil will be in school is still being worked on. Further details will of course be communicated with parents and carers in due course."


Details are still being worked out and will be shared by the council soon.

West Dunbartonshire

Primary school pupils will attend school two days a week from 12 August with the remaining days spent doing a mix of online learning and completing work sent home from school.

Each secondary school will set out a different plan but senior students (S4,S5,S6) must attend at least two days a week and younger pupils one day a week.

A "virtual school" called campus@wdc has been set up with a mixture of live lessons and pre-recorded videos from teaching staff.

West Lothian

The council's model of blended learning will see a minimum of two days a week in-class teaching supplemented by home learning.

It is aiming to have pupils with their teacher for 50% of normal time.

Scottish Council of Independent Schools

The educational charity, which represents more than 70 independent schools, said it is aiming to have most, if not all, pupils in for as much time as possible.

The majority of its schools are operating close to capacity and it acknowledges there is a lot of work to be done to use space well.

One possible option is moving teachers to classes rather than vice versa.

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