Update, May 13
Please note that the delivery schedule for a number of households receiving free school meal boxes has changed slightly.
This means that the delivery schedule for the Three Towns area has been condensed from three days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) to two days (Wednesday and Thursday).
This change will help us align better with the fresh food delivery to the Three Towns hub.
In addition, we have also brought forward some of Irvine’s Thursday deliveries to a Tuesday or Wednesday.
With immediate effect, the updated delivery schedule is:
- Tuesday – Irvine
- Wednesday - Three Towns, Irvine, Kilwinning, Garnock Valley
- Thursday - Three Towns, Irvine, Kilwinning, Garnock Valley, North Coast
Update, 22 April
Statement from Andrew McClelland and Caroline Amos - Head of Service Education
On Monday 20 April, SQA provided a further update following the cancellation of the 2020 exam diet.
We fully understand that this is an uncertain time for our learners who have worked hard throughout the year and are worried about what the current situation now means for them and their future.
Together with SQA, North Ayrshire Council remains committed to supporting you all at this exceptionally difficult time.
SQA have developed an alternative certification model for 2020 based on three broad principles:
Fairness to all learners; Safe and secure certification of our qualifications, while following the latest public health advice; and Maintaining the integrity and credibility of our qualifications system, ensuring that standards are maintained over time, in the interests of learners.
As previously outlined, estimates will form an important, but not exclusive, part of the certification process. SQA have now provided further clarity around the necessary processes to produce estimates which are fair and robust. North Ayrshire Council and SQA are working in close partnership to ensure all results are available by 4 August and our school staff are working hard to ensure that our young people are being accredited fairly.
Many thanks for your understanding, patience and ongoing support as we work collectively to ensure the best for the young people of North Ayrshire.
Caroline Amos and Andrew McClelland
Heads of Service (Education)
Update, 21 April
Exam results guidelines update
PUPILS across North Ayrshire have been given assurances that fairness and integrity will be key when determining exam results this year.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority has this week issued guidelines and further details how they will work out grades – now that exams have been cancelled – for all pupils.
Underpinning the national approach will be three key principles.
Fairness to all learners
Safe and secure certification of our qualifications, while following the latest public health advice
Maintaining the integrity and credibility of the qualifications system, ensuring that standards are maintained over time, in the interests of learners.
The estimates from teachers or lecturers will be submitted to SQA by May 29 and they will carry out further detailed analysis.
Results are due to be issued on August 4.
For full details please go to https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/93920.html
Update, 3 April
SQA Statement - Update
Following the closure of schools and the announcement that the SQA examination diet has been cancelled and other SQA activity suspended, SQA have now issued some additional information on how they plan to work with us to ensure that learners’ hard work is rightly and fairly recognised and allows them to proceed to further learning or work.
The SQA have prepared a document entitled ‘SQA Certification – Guidance for Learners, Parents and Carers which can be found at https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/files_ccc/020420-SQA-NQ2020-Parent-Carer-covid-19-FAQ.pdf. The full statement by SQA can be found on the homepage of the SQA website.
SQA have informed us that more information will be available by 20 April 2020. We will contact you again as quickly as we can following this release. Thank you for your understanding.
We hope you and your family can enjoy some relaxation during the Easter period and we look forward to working with your young people again on Monday 20 April.
Update 3 April
We have recently lettered parents of pupils who take instrumental lessons. If you currently pay for instrumental lessons, please see below:
• If you pay by termly instalments, you will not receive an invoice for next term
• If you have paid in full at the start of the term (£198), you will be issued with a £66 refund. As we are now working remotely this may take time to organise, so we appreciate your patience at this time.
• If you are paying by monthly Standing Order please cancel any future payments
As a Music Service we are currently working on further ways that we can support all our young musicians online. There is a new Music Service App that has useful information and resources.
You can continue to contact us at email@example.com with any questions. Pupils can contact their Instrumental Teacher through GLOW if they require further resources.
Update, 2 April
Learning and Teaching Provision
Children and young people have been given a wide range of resources to support them with continued learning during the school closure period.
Parents and carers, remember that learning from home is NOT the same as learning in school. You don’t need to try to recreate a ‘classroom’ environment or stick to rigid school hours. For early years and younger children it is much better to engage in practical activities which relate to real life. For example, cooking and baking together covers literacy and numeracy as well as important life and social skills.
Families, please remember the home packs are there to support and enhance what you are doing at home, and you can dip in and out of them in a way that suits your child’s needs, interests and learning preferences.
Teachers will maintain regular contact with classes and individuals to check in with the children/young people and to support the learning process.
Update 1 April
The coming weeks are likely to be far from normal in many ways. It is vitally important that we look after our own mental health and that of those closest to us. That is why we have pulled lots of advice together in the one place at: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/na/naccovid19/
Some further resources to help if you or your child is anxious about the Coronavirus:
On Twitter, follow @HealthNac NAC Mental health and Wellbeing for updates on how to keep mentally well at this uncertain time.
Update 1 April
Emergency Childcare Provision for Children of Key Workers
We have today issued updated guidance on our emergency childcare provision for children of critical key workers. Click here for further information.
The Active Schools Team are sharing ideas to keep you active at home. Follow them on Twitter to get involved.
Update 31 March
1140 hours early years plans on hold
We have received notice from the Scottish Government that they are taking steps that will remove the statutory duty on education authorities to make 1140 hours of early learning and childcare (ELC) available to each eligible child from 1 August, 2020. More details are available here
Update 27 March
North Ayrshire SQA Statement
Following the closure of schools and the announcement that no young person will submit coursework evidence to SQA from this point onwards, North Ayrshire’s Education Service is focused on ensuring that learners’ hard work is rightly and fairly recognised and allows them to proceed to further learning or work.
Currently, SQA have not detailed their approach to certification in these unprecedented of circumstances. We are aware that estimates will form an important part of this process. Every day school staff have observed the work of their pupils and tracked their progress carefully to support the consideration of the estimated grades. Preliminary examinations, formal assessments and tracking grades provide only a snapshot of this evidence and cannot be considered in isolation.
Once SQA has released the process of accreditation we will share this with all pupils, parents and staff. We will contact you again as information emerges and your school will communicate with you when they have any further information to provide.
Be assured, we will share all information widely once we have clarification. Thank you for your understanding.
Update 25 March
Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs)
Due to the current situation and Learning Centres being closed, all absences will be classed as authorised from 23 March 2020 until further notice. EMA payments will continue as scheduled.
Update 24 March
Hub-based childcare provision
Tomorrow (Wednesday, March 25), we will move to our new hub-based emergency childcare provision in our six localities. Parents and carers who are critical key workers (and have applied for this provision) will receive an email with further details.
The hubs will operate from 9am-3pm in the following buildings:
Garnock Community Campus
Stanley Primary & Early Years, Ardrossan
Abbey Primary & Early Years, Kilwinning
Castlepark Primary & Early Years, Irvine
Arran High School, Lamlash Primary and Early Years
Update 22 March
Free meals for eligible children and families
Late last week, we announced that young people eligible for free school meals and/or in receipt of a school clothing grant will soon receive a weekly food package for both them and their families in the weeks ahead.
We have received a high demand for this service and are aware some of you may have struggled to get through on the phone lines.
If you are eligible and have not yet managed to contact us by phone or email, please fill in this form.
To take part in the scheme, eligible families must opt-in by contacting us. Deliveries of the food packages will begin in the very near future and will be delivered to your home with lunch recipes and related ingredients.
Information for S4 to S6 pupils
S4-S6 pupils who may have been planning to attend at school from Monday 23 March, should NOT do so, in response to Scottish Government guidance provided today (Sunday 22 March) at 2.30pm.
Our secondary schools are closed for ALL pupils, including S4-S6, and staff, tomorrow (Monday 23 March), except for access for the children of critical key health workers and children identified as vulnerable. We will review this approach on a daily basis. We will ensure that no young person is disadvantaged by this decision which is made in good faith and to ensure we keep our communities safe.
We will continue to plan to ensure all of our young people receive the qualifications they deserve. Schools will continue to be in touch with their own S4-S6 pupils about the work they are undertaking remotely.
Secondary school buildings will only be open for emergency childcare provision for category 1 critical key workers in the NHS and Health and Social Care Partnership and only if they have no other means of childcare and only if the children do not have the maturity to look after themselves.
Update, 21 March
Key worker childcare
North Ayrshire will introduce Key Worker childcare for staff in frontline health services from Monday 23 March.
In phase one of our Key Worker Childcare provision, the critical key workers are frontline NHS and HSCP staff who have no other means of childcare and only if the children do not have the maturity to look after themselves.
These key workers at this stage include only staff in the NHS and Health and Social Care Partnership, including Care at Home.
With all schools and local authority early learning and childcare now closed, children and young people’s learning and teaching will be undertaken remotely, supported by those teachers working remotely on an ongoing basis.
Those parents who are considered by Scottish Government to be key workers should have completed the survey we issued to you on Friday, 20 March, 2020.
All parents, including key workers, are reminded that Scottish Government guidance is for children not to attend school where possible.
In these buildings they will be looked after by a range of staff – namely Active Schools Co-ordinators, Family Learning Workers, Library Staff and KA Leisure staff. This will be available from 9am until 3pm from Monday 23 March, until further updates are provided.
It is not possible at this stage to accommodate the children of any other key workers.
It is essential, to stop the spread of transmission of coronavirus, that people who can work from home do work from home.
This is not business as usual and it is vital that this support being offered is only accessed by those who absolutely require it to enable the NHS and other critical services to function.
As part of our phase 2 provision, we are working round the clock to devise arrangements to accommodate children from as wide a range of key workers as soon as possible. We will provide further updates early next week to inform you about the arrangements we are putting in place to make this happen.
Like all other businesses and institutions, the Council faces significant challenges in ensuring our staffing levels are sufficient for us to continue to deliver essential services and we are responding to the developing situation as quickly and effectively as we possibly can.
Under no circumstances should any child who has symptoms of coronavirus, or who lives in a household where someone has symptoms, present at school. The whole family must follow self-isolation guidance.
We very much appreciate your patience at this difficult time. We can assure you that we are doing all we can to meet the needs of parents who are providing these critical services to our communities.
More detail is still to follow on what the arrangements will be to support the most vulnerable, for those sitting SQA exams and for the children of those parents/carers delivering key services.
All secondary schools will be open from Monday 23 March for S4-S6 pupils to allow completion of course work.
We will let you know what all of North Ayrshire's plans are as soon as possible.
Free meals for eligible children and families
Following the Government’s announcement regarding school closures, the Council is pleased to confirm that young people eligible for free school meals and/or in receipt of a school clothing grant will soon receive a weekly food package for both them and their families in the weeks ahead.
This package will be delivered to your home and will include lunch recipes and related ingredients.
To take part in the scheme, eligible families must opt-in by contacting us.
Parents must contact the Council’s Facilities Management team on 01294 324699 and 324759 or email us on FacilitiesManagementTeam@north-ayrshire.gov.uk and provide your name, address and a contact telephone number. Please let us know if your child has any specific dietary requirements.
Once you are matched with the free school meals/clothing grant database, you will be added for a home delivery service.
In addition, all secondary schools will be open from Monday 23 March for S4-S6 pupils to allow completion of course work and free food will be provided for these pupils during morning break and lunch.
Scottish Government guidance is for children not to attend school where possible.
All schools and local authority early learning and childcare settings will close to children at 5pm on Friday, 20 March, 2020. The default assumption should be that children and young people will not attend educational settings and that learning and teaching will be undertaken remotely, supported by those teachers working remotely on an ongoing basis.
Parents who are considered by Scottish Government to be key workers should have completed the survey we issued to you on Friday 20 March 2020.
Key Worker Childcare: Phase 1 provision
We have determined that for Phase 1 of our North Ayrshire childcare provision, critical key workers are frontline NHS and HSCP staff who have no other means of childcare.
On Monday, 23 March, our secondary school buildings will be able to receive the children of frontline NHS and HSCP staff who have no other means of childcare and only if they do not have the maturity to look after themselves. In these buildings they will be looked after by a range of staff – namely Active Schools Co-ordinators, Family Learning Workers, Library Staff and KA Leisure staff. This will be available from 9am until 3pm from Monday, 20 March, until further updates are provided.
It is not possible at this stage to accommodate the children of any other key workers.
Key Worker Childcare: Phase 2 provision
We are working hard to devise arrangements to accommodate children from the full range of key workers as soon as possible. We will be in touch early next week to inform you about the arrangements we are putting in place to make this happen.
We appreciate your patience at this difficult time. We can assure you that we are doing all we can to meet the needs of parents who are providing these critical services to our communities.