A number of factors which are now coming to light are likely to have a significant effect on decisions to bring school groups to the Mass in Bellaouston Park.
The number of invitations available to schools is unlikely to match school aspirations but final allocations will not be confirmed before the end of the term.
It is now clear that groups arriving for the mass will be encouraged to arrive in Glasgow by 11am approximately. Parking restrictions for coaches will mean that walking distances to the park may be considerable. The Papal Mass will not end before 7.30pm and the Police are advising that it may take 2 hours for the congregation to disperse from the park. Time also has to be allowed for walking back to where coaches have been parked. Thereafter journeys home will vary in length. So, in short, this will be a long day.
The security measures in place in and around the area may result in lengthy delays in gaining access to the park. The overall effect of this is that this will be a lengthy event which is likely to require participants to draw upon considerable stamina, energy and patience.
All these factors should be carefully considered when schools are expressing interest in participating in the Papal Mass. It is likely that participation in the St Ninian’s day celebration in Edinburgh will be more suitable for Primary pupils.
The event organisers have made special arrangements for various companies to provide sufficient buses, trains and coaches to transport large numbers to Bellahouston. These arrangements are being co-ordinated centrally to ensure that drivers are aware of the traffic management plan and arrangements for parking and pick-up after the Mass. Details of the booking system will be provided later.
Any school which has made its own transport arrangements to Bellahouston will have to register their travel plans with the organisers so that provision can be made for them to park and have access to the site. Again, details of how to register will be provided later.
Schools making plans to take pupils to Edinburgh on the morning of Thursday 16th September should make their own transport arrangements. They will be provided with details of how to register their travel plans on line, where to park etc., as soon as possible.
With live streaming of this event on the Internet, all schools will be able to involve pupils in joining in this Assembly with the Pope. Details to follow.
At the start of the school session, secondary schools will be asked to confirm names of the S6 pupils who will join the Scottish party travelling to this event.
You are advised to check this website regularly to keep in touch with arrangements which will emerge in the coming weeks. The organisers appreciate that schools require a certain amount of information which will help them to make decisions and arrangements.
There will be further bulletins from SCES before the end of term and during the summer, advising further of arrangements and also of learning resources being made available. Additional information will also be sent to schools over the summer holidays, ensuring that you have all the necssary information for the start of term, well ahead of the Papal Visit.
This is the fifth in a series of news bulletins designed to keep schools (and others) informed of arrangements for the Papal Visit. To see previous bulletins, click here. Please note the official website for the UK Papal Visit: www.thepapalvisit.org.uk