Support on hand ahead of return to school

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The next phase of reopening schools in Argyll and Bute begins on Monday March 15, as P4-7 pupils join P1-3 pupils who are already back in school.

From the same date all secondary pupils will receive a mix of remote learning and teaching in school.

Social distancing and mask wearing rules will be applied in schools in line with government guidance.

In a letter to parents issued on March 4, Argyll and Bute Council confirmed that senior pupils in S4-6 taking national qualifications would have priority for face-to-face lessons in school.

The letter also states: ‘It is the Scottish Government’s expectation that all secondary school pupils will be back in school on a full-time basis after the Easter break. Our schools close for Easter on Thursday April 1 and reopen on Monday April 19.’

The return to school comes as the council confirmed that every secondary school in Argyll and Bute now has a qualified counsellor available to support pupils.

A paper prepared by council officers for the authority’s community services committee said: ‘The well qualified and experienced counsellors who have been appointed will provide a valuable tier one service, with clear routes for escalation of need to child and adolescent mental health services in place where required.’

In another report, executive director Douglas Hendry outlined the process, which is part of a £286,000 investment in Argyll and Bute by the Scottish Government, rising to £377,000 for each of the following three years.

Mr Hendry said: ‘Supporting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people is everyone’s business.

‘The benefits to the individual and to wider society of preventing problems from arising and intervening early are significant.

‘For schools, this can result in improvements in attainment, attendance and behaviour as well as happier, more confident and resilient pupils.’