The 2020/2021 academic year has commenced today (Tuesday 1st September 2020) for all staff and on Wednesday 2nd September 2020 for pupils in HMGoG schools.
Many of our pupils will be returning to school for the first time since they were closed in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Education and the schools have been working extremely hard to ensure a safe, happy and seamless start to the academic year.
In order to help pupils settle back into their school routine as smoothly as possible, different year groups will be welcomed back to school on different days and at different times. Precise details of these arrangements will be communicated to parents via each school’s usual channel of communication. Details will also be posted on the Department of Education’s website www.education.gov.gi.
Additional guidelines on the return to school for pupils, staff and parents will be published shortly. These guidelines will be updated as the advice from Public Health Gibraltar evolves to meet the needs of our community.
Headline schedule details for the first day of term for each year group are outlined below. After each year group’s initial welcome back on the first day of term, pupils will attend school sessions as per the details provided by their school.
Arrangements for Governor’s Meadow Lower Primary; Notre Dame Lower Primary; St Bernard’s Lower Primary; St Joseph’s Lower Primary; St Mary’s Lower Primary and St Paul’s Lower Primary are as follows:
All other College students will be advised of their start of term arrangements directly by the College.
After the initial start of term arrangements detailed above, pupils will attend school for full school days according to the logistics communicated directly to parents and young people via the schools.
The school day will operate on a summer hours schedule up to and including Friday 11th September. Winter hours will commence on Monday 14thSeptember. Pupils are expected to attend school every day, for the full school day, taking due notice of the details for staggered arrival and dismissal that apply, as per their school’s instructions.
For the first 3 weeks of winter hours, Year 1 pupils will only attend 3 afternoon sessions per week. This plan has been organised to assist the Year 1s in their return to school, as the gradual increase of school hours that usually occurs in Reception was not fully implemented as a result of school closures. As from Monday 5th October, all Year 1 pupils will attend full school days Monday to Friday.
Reception pupils will start attending one afternoon session a week as per the schedules schools follow on an annual basis.
The staff in our schools are excited to welcome our pupils back and look forward to working with them in as normal a manner as is possible. We urge all parents and pupils to work with us to ensure that the start of term is as safe, happy and smooth as is possible.
Minister for Education, Prof. John Cortes commented, “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. It will not be an easy term. We have to watch what COVID does and respond accordingly, and we have to get our children back into learning in a positive and constructive way. With the support of all – including of course, parents, and other carers. We are up to it and can’t wait to get started.”
The Chief Minister, the Hon. Fabian Picardo, said: “I am very pleased to see the return to school of our children after the COVID-19 problems we experienced that forced us to shut down our schools.
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. Gilbert and John have also worked hard to ensure a seamless handover over from one to another. That will be evident as we deliver the return to school we all want to see in time for the traditional start of term.”