School and early years COVID-19 updates

Return to school arrangements in January 2021

Update: Friday 8 January - remote learning

How will remote learning be organised?
From 11th January, learning tasks and resources will be available on-line so that all children and young people can access themduring the course of the school day/week.  Guidance will be provided to parents and carers on how to manage school work.  Schools will use a mixed delivery approach which best suits their context. This may include the following: 

  • providing learning tasks and resource on-line 
  • providing physical copies of learning resources 
  • recorded learning which leaners can access flexibility 
  • live learning/check-ins

The full school timetable will not be replicated remotely; schools will use the best model that will suit their context and needs. As a guide, the combination of learning tasks set should allow for the below recommended hours of pupil engagement:

  • Primary: 15-20 hours weekly
  • S1-S3: 15-20 hours weekly
  • Senior Phase: 20-25 hours weekly 

Every child will have regular access to a teacher, with set times during the week when teachers or other staff will check-in to provide support with learning, provide feedback or check-in with pupils (classes, groups or individuals) about their Health & Wellbeing.  If you feel that your child is not making progress with learning, or if you want more information about digital learning, please raise this directly with the Headteacher.  Support is available for teachers and for learners in a variety of ways. 
The facility for recorded video teaching is available for all. Although there will be examples where live (synchronous) teaching is used, it will not be the default.  Research supports learning approaches which aim to ‘chunk’ learning into more manageable chunks and allow for young people to access the learning more flexibly, for example through pre-recorded learning or on-line learning resources.
How are Keyworker places identified?
The City of Edinburgh Council is guided by the Scottish Government's definition of a keyworker.

  • Category 1 – Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID 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.
  • Category 2 – All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (for example: fire, police, prisons, social workers, courts), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.
  • 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).

Parents/carers were able to apply for a place in the childcare setting by applying online.  Each application has been looked at individually to assess if we can offer key worker childcare support.
As per the Scottish Government guidance, the following key principles apply:

  • Only those children that meet the criteria (i.e. those that are vulnerable or are the children of keyworkers as defined in this guidance) should be offered a place within childcare settings.
  • If it is possible for children to be at home during this exceptional period, until settings reopen more fully to them, then they should be.
  • Only key workers who are physically attending their workplace or who cannot fulfil their critical functions when working remotely may qualify for places.
  • Where alternative options are available – e.g. where childcare can be provided or supported by one non-key-worker parent or carer who is able to work from home – these should be used instead of attending childcare settings in person. 
  • They have no access to appropriate alternative childcare arrangements. Alternative childcare arrangements may include informal childcare (grandparents, family member or friend) or accessing a childminding service (which remain open to all children at present).
  • Decisions should be taken based on the circumstances of individual families.  Whole workforces or entire groups of staff should not be designated as key workers. Doing so would undermine the collective effort we must all make to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives during this period of strict lockdown.

We would encourage parents and carers to discuss their own personal circumstances with their employers as the Scottish Government have asked all employers to support their employees with childcare arrangements during this lockdown.

Update: Monday 4 January

On Monday 4 January, the First Minister announced that mainland Scotland moves from Level 4 to a temporary lockdown on Tuesday 5 January. We are currently reviewing all our services and will be updating this information as soon as we're able.

The latest guidance from the Scottish Government is: "From 5 January to 29 January, schools can only open to in-person learning for children of key workers and vulnerable children, with remote learning for all other children and young people from 11 January to 29 January."

On 26 December, Level 4 COVID-19 restrictions will come into force for mainland Scotland. This means that there are changes to the start of next term for children and young people.

6 to 8 January 2021

  • School will be closed for most pupils.

Children of key workers and vulnerable children

  • There will be support for children of key workers at their own school/nursery IF both parents/carers meet the criteria - read Scottish Government guidance on key workers.
  • All parents will receive an email about this on 22 December. If you meet the criteria, please apply online for a place by 3 January. Your child’s school will confirm places on 5 January.
  • Schools will also contact families to offer places for vulnerable children.

11 to 15 January 2021

  • Remote / online learning for all other pupils, at home.
  • Children of key workers and vulnerable children can continue to attend their own school if they have a place.
  • If your child attends a Special School, the head teacher will contact you by 6 January with the arrangements for that school from 11 January.

18 January 2020

  • All pupils return to school, unless further changes are announced by the Scottish Government.

When pupils return to school

When children return to school, it is essential that everyone follows infection control measures, especially:

  • face coverings (where appropriate)
  • hand-washing
  • two-metre distancing where possible.