Councils in the north are being urged to build shelters in school grounds, as it’s claimed pupils are being left “out in the cold” with winter approaching.
Worried parents have taken their concerns to councillors after their children were forced to face the elements in recent weeks.
It comes after licensing authorities have allowed huge marquees to be erected to allow pubs to continue trading during lockdown.
In Aberdeen, the parent council from Harlaw Academy this weekend launched a “call to arms” as they fundraise for a covered outdoor space for use as a classroom and a space for breaks.
The Liberal Democrats on the city council have been pressing education staff to reveal plans for the winter, after learning youngsters have already had to bear the rain and the wind as they are sent outside.
As part of government social distancing guidance, schools are being encouraged make use of outdoor space as it’s deemed safer than youngsters being left indoors.
There has been significant support – the council has bent over backwards – to allow marquees and other forms of cover to be erected in various premises including pubs and so it’s disappointing that similar concerted efforts are not being made for school pupils.”
Aberdeen Lib Dem education spokesman Martin Greig said: “I’m very disappointed that the wellbeing of pupils at schools is not being dealt with any sense of urgency.
“There are reports of young people being left out in the cold and the rain during lunch and break times – they can’t possibly be expected to sit in a cold wet playground.
“It’s unacceptable and there needs to be a serious effort to find alternative places in schools when there are adverse weather conditions.
“There has been significant support – the council has bent over backwards – to allow marquees and other forms of cover to be erected in various premises including pubs and so it’s disappointing that similar concerted efforts are not being made for school pupils.”
Education convener John Wheeler admitted distancing in some schools will be “easier than others” but said some schools had already started to make use of gym halls for extra break space.
He added: “I have to say, in terms of looking at the operational specifics, I’m not aware that this is currently an issue, it’s not one that has been flagged by officers.
“I would be confident that should it become one, they would raise the matter and put in place appropriate.
“It is incumbent on all elected members to scrutinise how the local authority is run but I would question the validity of doing so through the press.”
How pupils are “handled” outside of schools during adverse weather over the winter months will be an “important issue” for the newly-formed coronavirus recovery board of Highland Council, one of its 11 members has said.
SNP Councillor Ken Gowans said: “There would have to be bespoke measures in each school plan which take in all the risks involved in allowing children out in the playgrounds – or whether they are kept in – during severe weather.
“There is a risk of a second wave of lockdown, with more restrictions being put in place, and once the weather worsens – bringing with it the flu – then we need to have a plan in place.
“I will ask for this issued to be added to the agenda of the recovery board and will also raise it, where appropriate, at the education committee.”
Highland education chairman John Finlayson said it was being reviewed on an ongoing basis.