Professor Chris Chapman and Dr Sarah Weakly reflect on the process of evidence-based policymaking in the Scottish Government decisions regarding education in the COVID-19 pandemic in this blog written for the International Public Policy Observatory.
When Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the country’s new stay-at-home order on January 4, her stated priority was for educational settings to reopen again for all children and young people as quickly as possible.
Subject to continued reductions in prevalence and community transmission, and the appropriate infection prevention and control mitigations being in place, the First Minister stated that a phased return to in-person learning could be possible from 22 February – starting with ‘early learning and childcare (ELC), P1-P3 primary schoolchildren, and small numbers of senior secondary pupils requiring practical in-school learning’.
Based on our experience of researching the pandemic and advising the Scottish Government on education and children’s issues, including school reopening, this blog discusses:
- the evidence used to inform the decision of when and how to reopen schools in Scotland;
- the implications for pupils and staff returning to in-person instruction; and
- the lessons we’ve learned with regard to this aspect of the nation’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO) is mobilising global knowledge to address the social impacts of COVID-19.
The IPPO is a collaboration between UCL, Cardiff University, Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Auckland and the University of Oxford, together with think tanks including the International Network for Government Science (INGSA) and academic news publisher The Conversation. It is led by Professor Joanna Chataway from UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP).
IPPO undertakes policy research and work with engagement leaders in the devolved administrations, including the Scottish Policy and Research Exchange (SPRE), Wales’ Social Science Park (SPARK) and Queen’s University Belfast and Pivotal, Northern Ireland’s leading policy think tank.
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