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Schools set for September start

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

The academic year will begin on Tuesday, September 1 for all staff and on Wednesday, September 2 for pupils in Gibraltar Government schools.

Many 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 said it had been working extremely hard with the schools 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. 

Additional guidelines on the return to school for pupils, staff and parents will be published shortly, the Government said, adding that the guidelines will be updated as the advice from Public Health Gibraltar evolves to meet the needs of the community.

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.

The school day will operate on a summer hours schedule up to and including Friday, September 11. 

Winter hours will commence on Monday, September 14.

The Government said 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.

"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,” Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said.

“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."

For the first three weeks of winter hours, Year 1 pupils will only attend three 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, October 5, 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.

“I am excited to see that we will be welcome our children back to school next week,” the Minister for Education, Dr John Cortes said.

“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."

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