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Covid-19 (Education)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

The cabinet secretary will be aware of my grave concern about the decision. Although I know that he will have taken it in the best of faith and with real seriousness, I confess that I am very troubled and upset about what I fear will be its long-term and serious consequences for the life chances and opportunities of some of our young people. There is not only a digital divide; there are also all sorts of other inequalities that I fear will be reinforced over this period.

Will the cabinet secretary confirm that he will keep the decision under the closest review and, in the medium term, will he plan for addressing those consequences when this is over? Specifically, does he—as I do—recognise that individual schools matter to individual families? Will he confirm the benefits of keeping open as many local schools as possible, because they are seen by many families as a source of support and advice that they can trust? Will he also confirm what he believes to be the responsibility of individual schools to communicate directly and regularly with all families for whom they have a responsibility?