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Ross welcomes £70m funding package to help schools open safely

By Gordon Calder

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NORTH MSP Gail Ross has welcomed an additional £70 million funding package to help schools throughout Scotland open safely in August following the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Government is to give local authorities an extra £50 million for the recruitment of additional teachers and support staff for the academic year 2020/21. The money should result in an extra 850 teachers and around 200 support staff being employed in Scottish schools.

An additional £20 million will be available to local authorities to address the extra requirements of schools as a result of Covid-19 and will be spent on school cleaners, facilities management and school transport staff.

Mrs Ross, the SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said: "I am delighted that the Scottish Government has announced this additional funding as it is clear that pupils and staff will need additional support in returning to school and settling in to the 'new normal'.

"Many parents and carers have raised concerns with me that pupils will need additional support to ensure that they can transition well into school life and to help with catching up with learning while schools have been closed. I have written to Highland Council to ask them what it intends to do with the available funding to ensure that learners can access the support that they need."

The Caithness, Sutherland and Ross SNP MSP added: "Parents, staff and learners may all have concerns about how schools will be kept hygienic when they return in August. I’m pleased to see a commitment from the Scottish Government of additional money to support this."

In her letter to Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson, Mrs Ross asks what plans the local authority has to assess the need for additional help for pupils to ensure "as much support as possible is available when schools reopen".

She also wants to know how the council will use the money for school cleaners, facilities management and transport staff.

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