Reopening schools safely


NSEE’s principal investigator Professor Chris Chapman and Dr Sarah Weakley, Policy Scotland’s research and impact acceleration officer, based at the University of Glasgow, recently blogged about schools reopening on the International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO) website.

The IPPO aims to mobilise global knowledge to address the social impacts of COVID-19.

Writing about schools returning, Professor Chapman and Dr Weakley discussed the phased return that will roll out next week when in-person learning will start with ‘early learning and childcare (ELC), P1-P3 primary schoolchildren, and small numbers of senior secondary pupils requiring practical in-school learning’.

Evidence used

The blog discusses what evidence was used to:

  • what evidence was 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
  • the lessons we’ve learned about this aspect of the nation’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The writers note that the reopening of schools is a challenging and problematic process. However, there is now far more robust evidence on the transmission and health impacts of COVID-19 on pupil and staff populations, as well as on the impacts of the policies put in place to suppress the virus, which allows for more evidence-informed decisions at every phase of the reopening process.

In addition, the article stresses the importance of transparency with school staff, parents and pupils about why certain decisions are made and to point them to the evidence that helped leaders make those decisions.

Read the full article on the IPPO website here.

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



We are the Network for Social and Educational Equity, based in the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow. We work with governments, educational institutions, local authorities and teachers to promote educational change.

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About NSEE

The Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE) is part of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC) at the University of Glasgow.

It works in collaboration with schools, local authorities, Education Scotland and partner services to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap in young people’s education.

NSEE helps schools to use appropriate evidence and data within collaborative working approaches to critically examine context and current arrangements, make changes based on evidence, monitor the impact of these changes and reflect on what they learn.

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