Covid-19: Information for Parents and Pupils

If you are concerned about school or childcare, please read the following information:

· The Scottish Government are now planning that all schools will reopen on 11 August on a fulltime basis. Contingency plans are in place for a ‘blended learning’ model, if there is a resurgence in COVID-19 before this date. This would involve a combination of classroom teaching combined with continued home-schooling.

· Certain groups of pupils may be asked to return to school earlier than this. These include vulnerable children, or pupils in transitional years such as P7 or S1. Such pupils could receive small amounts of classroom teaching from the end of June. We are awaiting further details on this from the Scottish Government.

· If your child has been attending a childcare hub, this should still be available over the summer months.

· On Friday 20 March 2020, all schools, and all local authority early learning and childcare settings closed to children and young people. There are exceptions in place to protect ‘key workers’ and vulnerable children.

· The Scottish Government have asked local authorities to decide what learning and childcare arrangements for the children of key workers are most appropriate for local circumstances. They are also asking local authorities, where possible, to make provision available beyond the school day, in partnership with providers of out of school care and after school and holiday clubs.

· Information for parents and carers from the Scottish Government is available at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-childcare-closures-and-emergency-provision/pages/parents-and-carers-closure-information/

· Advice for parents and carers on managing the impact of COVID-19 on their child’s learning and family life is available at https://www.parentclub.scot/topics/health/coronavirus.

· Questions on schooling and childcare are best directed to your local council in the first instance. You can find their contact details at https://www.mygov.scot/find-your-local-council/.

· Parents should not rely on those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category (such as grandparents or family members with underlying conditions) for childcare. You can check who is in the at-risk category here: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-social-distancing.

If you think you may be a ‘key worker’, please read the following information:

· Local authorities should now have critical provision in place so that children of key workers, such as NHS and social care staff, can still access learning and childcare if their parents absolutely must go to work.

· However, employers of key workers are being asked by the Scottish Government to consider if it is possible for workers to continue to provide essential services from home. To ensure childcare provision continues to be provided only where completely essential, parents who are key workers should therefore work with

their employers to find a way to work from home if possible, or to seek alternative childcare – for example, from a relative or carer who is not a key worker.

· The definition of ‘key worker’ has been broken up into three categories. If you fit into one of these three categories, your child may be eligible for learning or childcare provision from your local authority:

o Category 1: Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID-19 response, and associated staff; Health and Care workers supporting life-threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; Energy suppliers (small numbers identified as top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.

o Category 2: All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers, etc), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.

o Category 3: All workers (private, public or third sector) without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to COVID-19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised).

· These categorisations may be slightly different in each local authority area depending on local priorities.

· Further guidance for key workers is available at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus—school-and-elc-closures-guidance-on-critical-childcare-provision-for-key-workers/.

· Questions on key worker definitions are best directed to your local council in the first instance. You can find their contact details here: https://www.mygov.scot/find-your-local-council/.

If you think you may be a ‘key worker’, but have a partner who is not, please read the following information:

· The Scottish Government have advised local authorities that if one parent is a key worker and the other is not, the non-key worker should normally be expected to provide childcare. The general rule is that if it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

· However, parents should not rely on those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category (such as grandparents or family members with underlying conditions) for childcare. You can check who is in the at-risk category here: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-social-distancing.

If your child is in S4 to S6, please read the following information:

· The SQA have confirmed that teachers will award pupils predicted grades based on a number of factors, such as formative work. These predicted grades will then be compiled by the SQA who will decide if any adjustments are required. Any final decision reached on pupils’ grades will be subject to a free appeals process.

· At this stage, there are no plans to allow students to sit exams in the autumn as part of the appeals process. If students are still unhappy with their grades following their appeal, they will be able to sit their 2020 exams in the 2021 exam period.

· Estimated grades were submitted by teachers by 29 May. Following a moderation process, results will be available through the MySQA portal on 04 August 2020. Further information, including answers to frequently asked questions, is available at https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/93777.html.

If your child is eligible for free school meals or has additional support needs, please read the following information:

· The Scottish Government have said that local authorities should put provision in place for children who are eligible for free school meals, have additional support needs or are otherwise vulnerable or at risk.

· Your local authority should make provision available to ensure that your children do not suffer unduly as a result of the current crisis. For free school meals, alternatives may take the form of direct payments to parents or food vouchers to be spent at supermarkets.

· The Scottish Government have announced that all children receiving free school meal provision from their local authority while schools have been closed will still receive this over the summer.

· Questions on free school meals are best directed to your local council in the first instance. You can find their contact details here: https://www.mygov.scot/find-your-local-council/.

· Parents should not rely on those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category (such as grandparents or family members with underlying conditions) for childcare. You can check who is in the at-risk category here: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-social-distancing.

If your child attends an independent school, nursery or other childcare, please read the following information:

· The Scottish Government have said that private or independent schools, nurseries or other childcare setting can remain open, provided they support only the children of key workers and vulnerable children and wherever possible, work with local authorities in their areas to do this.

· Registered childminders should cease all provision besides emergency childcare for key worker families and vulnerable children. Further information is available at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-letter-to-childminders-about-service-provision/.

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Published by Sarah Russell on behalf East Lothian Conservative and Unionist Association, 4 Church Street, Haddington EH41 3EX