MORE than half the children in Ceredigion have returned to school with further support and childcare available over the summer holidays.

County council leader Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn said on Tuesday (July 7) that 55 per cent of pupils had gone back to school to ‘check in and catch up’ with friends and teachers.

Cllr ap Gwynn said at the July cabinet meeting, broadcast live on Facebook, that all teachers had a Covid-19 antibody test before a return to school.

“By now it’s clear that there’s going to be care available for our vulnerable children over the holidays and free meals as has been happening during the term,” she added.

Cabinet were also told that there will be play opportunities and care for under-fives funded by the Welsh Government through the summer.

With children returning to school there is expected to be an increase in the numbers of safeguarding reports, with the number of referrals having dropped in the first part of lockdown as schools were one of the main sources of disclosures.

The new director of social services Sian Howys said the referrals had been at the usual level recently but “we need to look at what will happen in this three-week period that the children are back in school and share what has happened at home.”

She assured members of cabinet that the social care team had maintained contact with vulnerable children and although visits had been more difficult they had continued throughout lockdown.

Extra funding for care homes was highlighted and the council will continue to work with Hywel Dda health board as it prepares for a second Covid-19 outbreak in the autumn.

Field hospitals will remain in two council leisure centres – Cardigan and Plascrug – while Ysgol Penweddig will be ready for pupils in September.

Those returning this month are being taught at Aberystwyth University’s campus, Cllr Gwynn told the meeting.

“We need to keep our eye on the situation,” said Cllr ap Gwynn. Adding: “I’m glad to say that all our residents and staff in the care homes have all been tested and all come back negative.”

Much work had been done to keep these residents safe and no one is discharged from hospital straight into a permanent care home, she added.