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Updated Guidance for Teachers in Scotland

Further clarification from the Scottish Government means that we have now updated our guidance for teachers in Scotland, with more detailed advice for working across the five tier system.

Published: 20 November 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
Photograph of an aerial view of Glasgow, the sky above is blue and the trees are bright green.
We continue to advise private teachers to work online where practically possible. Photo credit: Shutterstock

On 2 November, Scotland entered a five-tier plan of measures for dealing with Covid-19 across the country. The measures range from tiers 0 to 4 and are designed to apply to specific local authority areas, or nationwide as appropriate. Schools are to remain open at all levels, with increasingly enhanced mitigations and measures in place in line with the increasing risk.

Peripatetic teaching is allowed when there is no alternative

The Scottish Government’s guidance for schools states (point 94):

"Movement between schools (e.g. of temporary/supply/peripatetic staff etc) should be kept to a minimum. Those providing essential services key to the delivery of children’s care or educational plans, for example visiting teachers, psychologists, nurses, social workers, youthworkers and those providing therapeutic support, should be able to visit schools; however, appropriate mitigations to prevent transmission of the virus in and between settings should be undertaken. Mitigations should be determined via a risk assessment carried out by the school in co-operation with the service provider."

We interpret this to mean that peripatetic music teaching is allowed in schools where there is no alternative, but that alternatives (e.g. teaching online) are preferred.

Wind, brass and singing lessons are currently not permitted in schools

Guidance on PE, music and drama in schools states:

"Young people should not engage in drama, singing, or playing wind and brass instruments with other people, given these activities pose a potentially higher risk of transmission."

This means that wind, brass and singing are not currently permitted in schools, although we are pushing the Scottish government to move to a more workable position on this based on increasing scientific evidence regarding the actual risks of these activities.

We advise private teachers to work online where practically possible

The Scottish Government updated its guidance on organised activities for children on 12 November, including a statement that, “Private tuition would be able to take place in a person’s own home, or the service user’s home at Level [tier] 0 only.”

However, we have been advised by the Scottish government that this applies only to statutory learning organised through schools, and that private learning not organised through schools is still permitted in homes.

Due to the lack of clarity inherent in this advice, we advise private music teachers to work online where practically possible, especially if they are wind, brass or singing teachers.

If face-to-face lessons must take place in homes or in private studios, teachers should ensure that risk assessments and Covid-secure measures are in place, and that they have read the Scottish government’s general advice for workplaces, its small and micro business guidance, its guidance for the performing arts sector and is guidance on organised activities for children.

We continue to push for greater clarity in the advice being issued by the Scottish government.

We advise teachers who would usually travel between England and Scotland to move online

The new restrictions in England will affect private music lessons that involve travel across the England-Scotland border.

Throughout the period of the restrictions, we advise private teachers to move their lessons online if they are based in England but normally travel to Scotland to teach, and the same if they are based in Scotland but normally travel to England to teach.

See our guidance for teachers working across the UK during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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