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Education & learning - Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

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Home   Coronavirus (COVID-19)   Education & learning - Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Education & learning - Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

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:

Largs Campus

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.

SQA Exams

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.

Key workers

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.