COVID-19 School Update

Schools & Early Years Update

Update 16 September

This letter to parents and carers from Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, issued on 16 September, has also been distributed directly through schools:

Letter to Parents/Carers from Jason Leitch

(Updated 22 June)

Family Pandemic Support Payments of £100 will be paid in alignment with the Scottish Government’s announcement in March 2021.

This summer and again this coming winter, payments will be made to eligible children and young people who are in receipt of free school meals. 

Payments of £100 will be made for each eligible child or young person in receipt of free school meals due to low income or qualifying benefits.

Children and young people receiving free school meals based on universal provision (currently P1 - P3) are not eligible.

We will continue to make the payment for all those children in Early Years who are entitled to free school meals through the eligibility criteria, but not those who receive the universal provision.

If you have younger children, you may also be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment. If you have not already done so, you can find out more including details of how to apply on the Scottish Child Payment page on mygov.scot website

If the child or young person has already applied and been in receipt of School Clothing Grant payment for the 2020-2021 academic year, there is no need to re-apply,

The summer payment will be made automatically by bank transfer to the account we currently have on file.

If your bank details have changed since you received the Spring payment, please contact the Council as soon as possible: either phone 0300 1234510 or email customerservices@eastdunbarton.gov.uk

If your child or young person is not currently in receipt of free school meals but may be eligible, you can still apply. Please ensure you apply for the 2020/21 academic year to be eligible for the summer 2021 payment.

Summer Payment Dates

Parents of all eligible children and young people who have applied for and have been awarded free school meals for the 2020/2021 academic year by 31 May 2021 will receive their payment by 25th June 2021.

Parents of eligible children and young people who apply for and are awarded free school meals for the 2020/2021 academic year before the deadline of Friday 25 June 2021 will receive their £100 payment by end of July 2021.

Proposed payment dates for free school meals to cover the Summer period as follows-

  • By 25/06/2021:  £100 plus £4 per day for the period from Friday 25/06/21 to Friday 09/07/21;a total of £144 per eligible child.
  • By 09/07/2021:  £4 per day for the period Monday 12/07/21 to Friday 23/07/21;a total of £40 per eligible child
  • By 23/07/2021   £4 per day for the period Monday 26/07/21 to Tuesday 10/08/21,a total of £48 per eligible child

Winter Payment Dates 2021/22

The winter pandemic support payment is available to eligible school age children and young people awarded free school meals for the 2021/2022 academic year.  Please ensure you submit your application for the new academic year to qualify.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply for and are awarded free school meals before 22 December 2021 will receive a winter family pandemic payment.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply before 30 November 2021 will receive their payment by 22 December 2021.

Parents of all eligible children and young people who apply after 30 November 2021 and before the deadline of 22 December 2021, will receive their payment by the end of January 2022.

Updated 8 April 2021

The Scottish Government have announced that secondary schools will reopen full-time to all pupils not on the shielding list after the Easter holidays. Pupils on the shielding list will return to school full-time on 26 April. 

We will make the necessary preparations ahead of 19 April. 

Secondary school pupils will be asked to observe the following safety measures on their return and parents/carers are asked to support them: 

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times by all pupils and staff - including in classrooms 
  • Lateral flow testing for all pupils and staff. Further information will be provided by the school 

Updated 12 March 2021

Payments for the provision of free school meals to eligible secondary school pupils will continue during the phased return commencing Monday 15 March. Payment for the period Monday 15 March to Thursday 1 April will be paid by Friday 12 March and will be a total of £56 per eligible pupil. 

During the school Easter Holidays all eligible pupils will be entitled to Free School Meals payments and the Spring Hardship payment.  This will be paid by 1 April and will be a total of £144 per eligible child.  This is made up of £4 per day Free School Meal payment, for the 11 days of school closure, and £100 Spring Hardship payment. 

For more information on Free School Meals and the Spring Hardship payment please read the following FAQs

Updated 9 March 2021

The Scottish Government has announced the next phase of the reopening of schools. From Monday 15 March until the Easter break, the following pupils will return to school:

  • Primary 4-7 pupils will return full time
  • S1- S6 pupils will begin blended learning which will mean some time in school while continuing with remote learning at other times. (Priority is to be given to S4-S6 pupils for in-school learning in order to prepare for the National Qualifications).

Secondary Head Teachers have been working with the Council to put plans in place for their school. Schools will have a flexible approach taking account of these key principles and operational considerations:

  • Prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of pupils to ensure a safe phased return to school
  • Build on Phase 1 for S4-S6 pupils to maximise learning and teaching for the National Qualifications in preparation for formal assessment after Easter 
  • Support the transition of S1-S3 pupils through wellbeing, in preparation for a full return
  • Build on the evaluation of remote learning to plan blended learning (ie. some time in-school and remote learning).

Head Teachers have had to consider a range of operational matter when developing the model of blended learning for their school. This includes timetabling for different subjects, accommodation, staffing, transport, hub provision and the need for 2m distancing.

All pupils will have some time in school each week but this will vary depending on the year group, subjects they are studying and any individual needs.

Secondary school pupils are being asked to follow these new safety measures on their return and parents/carers are asked to support them:

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times by all pupils and staff - including in classrooms
  • 2m physical distancing will be required in classrooms and social areas
  • Lateral flow testing is being expanded to include all secondary pupils. Further information will be provided by the school.

Updated 2 March 2021

Following today's announcement by the Scottish Government of an anticipated full return to education for P4-P7 children and a phased return for Secondary School pupils from Monday 15 March 2021, our teachers and school staff are making the necessary preparations. Further guidance will be provided by the Scottish Government next week and head teachers will provide detailed information on the arrangements in their school thereafter.
 
Senior students (S4-S6) will continue to be invited to take part in the asymptomatic testing programme. This is a voluntary programme and is part of a package of COVID-19 risk reduction mitigations in schools and early learning and childcare settings. It will do this by helping to identify asymptomatic individuals at the earliest possible opportunity and asking them and their close contacts to self-isolate, thus minimising the likelihood of them passing on the virus.
 
All primary, secondary and special school staff (including school-based early years centre and childcare staff) have also been invited to be part of the asymptomatic testing programme.
 
Please note that there is no change to the wider 'Stay at Home' regulations that came into effect on Tuesday 5 January 2021. To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible. The Scottish Government will give regular updates on any changes to those restrictions.
 
In order to stop the spread of the virus and to ensure that our schools and early years centres remain open, there are things parents and carers can do. These include not gathering at the school gates and not car sharing. Parent Club Scotland has lots of information and advice. 

Updated 16 February 2021

Following today's announcement by the Scottish Government of a full return to early years and a phased return to school for some children next week, East Dunbartonshire's educational establishments are preparing to welcome their children back.

From Monday 22 February all pre-school children should return to their Early Years Centre as normal and pupils in P1, P2 and P3 should return to school. You will receive communication from your centre or school with more information.

Senior students who have been told by their school that they should return to school to carry out essential practical work should do so in line with the latest Scottish Government school safety guidance. This includes observing 2m distancing in school and on school transport. Your school will be in touch with more information on this. 

As part of this return to secondary school, pupils will be invited to take part in the asymptomatic testing programme. This is a voluntary programme and is part of a package of COVID-19 risk reduction mitigations in schools and early learning and childcare settings. It will do this by helping to identify asymptomatic individuals at the earliest possible opportunity and asking them and their close contacts to self-isolate, thus minimising the likelihood of them passing on the virus.

All primary, secondary and special school staff (including school-based early years centre and childcare staff) have already been invited to be part of the asymptomatic testing programme.
In summary, the early years and schools position from Monday 22 February is:

  • Children of key workers and vulnerable children who have been attending school should continue to do so
  • Pre-school children should return to their early years centre
  • P1, P2 and P3 pupils should return to school
  • Senior phase pupils, identified by the school, should attend an adhere to new school safety guidance
  • All other children and young people should continue remote learning from home. 

Please note that there is no change to the wider 'Stay at Home' regulations that came into effect on Tuesday 5 January 2021. Today, the Scottish Government announced that those restrictions will remain in place until at least the start of March with the usual fortnightly review due Tuesday 02 March. To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible.

Key Worker Provision

Children of key workers who are in P4, P5, P6 or P7 should only attend while their parents are at work and need childcare. Places will be allocated if parents meet the following criteria:

  • Both parents (or 'the parent' in the case of a single parent) are/is in the key worker category as defined in the Scottish Government Guidance; AND
  • Are required to attend their place of work i.e. are not working from home; AND
  • Have no other childcare options.

Informal childcare is now permitted unlike during the previous lockdown. The following advice from the Parent Club may be useful to parents: https://www.parentclub.scot/articles/your-guide-childcare

An Application Form has been provided and schools will allocate places. Your child’s school or early years centre will confirm with you if a place has been allocated. You should complete the attached form and email it to the school or early years office. The email addresses can be found from these pages:

Secondary Schools
Primary Schools
Early Years

Payments for Free School/Early Years Meals - Updated 12 February 2021

With the extension of school closures until 19 February (to all but children of keyworkers and vulnerable children) and intended full time return of early years, pupils in primary 1 – 3 and a return for senior phase pupils from 22 February, a further one week payment (£20 per child) for free school/early years meals will be paid to those eligible.

This is to cover week beginning 15 February 2021.

Payments will be made by BACS transfer by 12 February.

Those children remaining at home will continue to be paid £20 per week on a fortnightly basis until such time as schools fully reopen.

Please read these FAQs for further details on payment and eligibility.

Early Years 

Children of key workers and those children who are identified as vulnerable will attend the centres. Children will attend for their usual sessions and the normal payment fees will apply. No other children should attend. Refunds for any fees will be made. Children of key workers, who attend a funded provider, can apply for a place at a local authority centre if their provider has decided to close. 

Vulnerable children

In line with guidance from Scottish Government, the Head Teachers of our special schools have worked in consultation with the Education Service and Social Work Service to put in place bespoke support for children and families. This may include some in-school support as well as support from other agencies.

Remote Learning

Significant progress has been made with the provision of digital learning since the last lockdown. Online learning will form part of a package of remote learning provided by schools. This will be appropriate for the age and stage of the child. This will be provided using Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom. Seesaw is now being provided in all primary schools across the Council and this will provide a platform for feedback on children’s learning for parents and teachers. There are a number of online resources and all secondary schools will have access to the West Online School (West OSC) which has a range of recorded video clips. Teachers will be working to put a programme in place and to share information with parents and children.

We understand how difficult this is for families and will do all we can to support parents and children through this time until they are all back in school full time again. 

Key Worker Provision (Published 23 December 2020)

This update includes the guidance provided by Scottish Government on key worker categories for the return to school and early years in January, and the application form.

The Scottish Government has provided these categories:

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

Places will be allocated if parents meet the following criteria:

  • Both parents (or one in the case of a single parent) are in the key worker category as defined below; AND
  • Are required to attend their place of work i.e are not working from home; AND
  • Have no other childcare options/

Informal childcare is now permitted unlike during the previous lockdown.  The following advice from the Parent Club may be useful to parents.

https://www.parentclub.scot/articles/your-guide-childcare

Parents should complete the attached form and email it to the school or early years office

The email addresses can be found from these pages:
Secondary Schools

Primary Schools

Early Years
 


Your child’s school or early years centre will confirm if a place has been allocated.  However due to the exceptionally short timescale, this will not be until the school or centre reopens. Children who were shielded should not attend unless there has been confirmation from their clinician.

 Arrangement for each sector:

Vulnerable Children

Schools and early years centres will contact parents to inform them if their child has been allocated a place.  This includes all children at Merkland and Campsie View Schools.

School transport will be provided as usual.  Children who were shielded should not attend unless there has been confirmation from their clinician.

Early Years

Extended Early Years Centre will open on Tuesday 5 January for staff only. Arrangements will be put in place for children of key workers and those children who are identified as vulnerable to return on Wednesday 6 January.  These children will continue to attend week beginning 11 January.  Children will attend for their usual sessions and the normal payment fees will apply.  All other children should not attend during that week.  Refunds for any fees will be made.

Term time early years centres (Craighead and Meadowburn Gaelic ) will open in line with the school opening dates.  Children of key workers and those identified as vulnerable will return on Thursday 7 January.

Funded Providers
If your child attends a funded provider, you should contact the provider directly.  If they are not able to offer a place and you meet the definition of a key worker, then contact

elc1140@eastdunbarton.gov.uk

Scottish Government have stated that from Monday 18 January onwards, it is expected that schools/ early years centres will open to all staff and pupils for in-person teaching and learning as normal, and operating within the existing guidance on reducing risks in schools and strategic framework protection levels.   However this has not been confirmed and will be dependent on the decision by Scottish Government.

Primary Schools

Schools will now open on Wednesday 6 January for staff only; arrangements will be put in place in line with the Scottish Government Guidance:

  • Children of key workers and children identified as vulnerable will be able to attend school for childcare and wellbeing on Thursday 7 January and Friday 8 January.  All other children will be on an extended holiday.
  • From 11 January, the programme in school will move to learning and teaching with remote learning provided for those not in school. 
  • Schools will operate the usual hours and so parents should make the usual childcare arrangements out with school hours.

The remote learning programme will be communicated by each school and will include online learning.  Schools will use Teams or Google Classroom. 

Scottish Government have stated that from Monday 18 January onwards, it is expected that schools/ early years centres will open to all staff and pupils for in-person teaching and learning as normal, and operating within the existing guidance on reducing risks in schools and strategic framework protection levels.   However this has not been confirmed and will be dependent on the decision by Scottish Government.

Secondary Schools

Schools will now open on Wednesday 6 January for staff only.  Arrangements will be put in place in line with the Scottish Government Guidance:

  • Children of key workers and children identified as vulnerable will be able to attend school for childcare and wellbeing on Thursday 7 January and Friday 8 January.  All other children will be on an extended holiday.
  • From Monday 11 January, the programme in school will move to learning and teaching with remote learning provided for those not in school.
  • Schools will operate the usual hours and so parents should make the usual arrangements out with school hours.

The remote learning programme will be communicated by each school and will include online learning.  Schools will use Teams or Google Classroom.    There will be communication from the school in relation to the Senior Phase and the changes to the assessment arrangements.  All secondary schools will have access to the West Partnership Online resource and further guidance will be provided by the central team on how this can be accessed.

Scottish Government have stated that from Monday 18 January onwards, it is expected that schools/ early years centres will open to all staff and pupils for in-person teaching and learning as normal, and operating within the existing guidance on reducing risks in schools and strategic framework protection levels.   However this has not been confirmed and will be dependent on the decision by Scottish Government.

Update on Schools/Early Years Reopening Arrangements in January (Published 22 December 2020)

The Scottish Government has published more guidance on the arrangements for reopening of schools and early years centres in January:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-school-re-opening-arrangements-for-january-2021/

In line with this guidance, the Council has received approval from the Scottish Government for one day’s exceptional closure. This will allow staff to prepare for the safe opening of schools and the return of vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

Extended Early Years Centres will now open on Tuesday 5 January for staff only 

  • Arrangements will be put in place for children of key workers and those children who are identified as vulnerable to return on Wednesday 6 January. These children will continue to attend week beginning 11 January.

Schools will now open on Wednesday 6 January for staff only 

  • Children of key workers and children identified as vulnerable will be able to attend school for childcare and wellbeing on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 January.
  • All other children will be on an extended holiday until Monday 11 January.
  • From Monday 11 January, the programme will move to remote learning and teaching for those not in school.

Children of Key Workers

  • Arrangements for key worker provision, including details of how to apply, will be provided on Wednesday 23 December. This will include the criteria being used to allocate places.  

Vulnerable Children

  • Vulnerable children will be identified by schools and early years centres. This will include all children who attend Campsie View and Merkland Schools.

Further information will be available on Wednesday 23 December 2020.

Announcement on Schools and Early Years Centres (Published 20 December 2020)

Following the Scottish Government announcement on Saturday 19 December regarding arrangements for schools returning after the Christmas holidays, with teachers and school/early years staff returning as scheduled on Tuesday 5 January for extended years Early Years Centres and Wednesday 6 January for schools, and only the children of key workers and vulnerable children attending, further detail from Scottish Government is still evolving, and once provided to councils, will inform our approach locally.

Schools will still be open as scheduled on Monday 21 December and extended year Early Years Centres will remain open as scheduled until Thursday 24 December.  We understand you will have many questions in relation to school transport, ASN and key worker arrangements and further details and arrangements for East Dunbartonshire will be finalised as soon as we have the further guidance.

Thank you for your understanding and we will publish all details online, with Groupcall texts and social media posts to advise, as soon as further updates are available.

Payments for Free School Meals in January (Published 20 December 2020)

Given Scottish Government's announcement that only the children of key workers and vulnerable children will be attending school until 18 January, a further two week payment (£40 per child) for Free School Meals will be paid to those that are eligible.

For those that have already received their hardship payment and the payment for free school meals for the holiday period, a further payment of £40 per child will now be made.

For those that are yet to receive their payment (in line with previously published information) this additional payment of £40 per child will be added to the £140 per child that they are due to receive(£100 hardship payment and £40 for two weeks free school meal payment for the holidays.  The full payment of £180 per child will be made in line with the previously published timescales.  

Hardship Payment and Christmas Holiday Free School Meal payments (Published 15 December 2020)

The Council will make the Winter Hardship payments (£100 per child) and Christmas Holiday Free School Meal payments (£20/week per child) to all eligible low income households due to reach bank accounts by Monday 21 December.  There will be one payment per household, a total of £140 for one child, £280 for two children, £420 for three children etc. and payments will be by BACS bank transfer.

Please read these Frequently Asked Questions for further details on payment, eligibility and what to do if you have not received a payment by 21 December.

Devices for Pupils Programme (Published 8 December 2020)

East Dunbartonshire Council is providing over 1900 digital devices and almost 300 mobile Wi-Fi appliances to pupils across the area to help children and young people with home learning.
Home learning continues to play a significant part in young people’s education during the pandemic, when pupils may be required to self-isolate at home for periods of time. 
To ensure that no-one is disadvantaged because they cannot access online learning opportunities, eligible pupils are receiving the devices they need to help their studies.  
The digital devices are distributed through our schools to children and young people who meet the eligibility criteria.

Isolation period and free school meals (Published 3 November 2020)

These FAQs provide details of the payments being made for those eligible for free school meals who are required to isolate as a result of a positive Covid-19 test or as a result of being identified as a close contact and requiring to isolate.

Q Will my child still be entitled to receive Free School Meals during a period of isolation?
A Yes, those children who have qualified for Free School Meals through the School Clothing Grant/Free School Meal application, will continue to receive entitlement.
Q How do the Council know that my child is absent through Isolation?
A Each School report to a Central Support Team on isolating children, this central record is utilised to identify those children who qualify for Free School Meals. 
Q Will I be contacted to confirm you are aware my child is absent through isolation?
A The Central Support Team will contact Qualifying parents by telephone to confirm information held and confirm payment details. EDC will ask you to confirm your sort code and the last four digits of the Bank Account that you provided through the School Clothing Grant/Free School Meal application process.
Q What if my bank account information has changed?
A When the Central Support team contact you to confirm payment information, they will ask you to contact the council on 0800 111 4000 to supply your new bank account details.
Q How will free school meals be provided during isolation?
A EDC will pay £4 per day per child, this will be paid for each school day that your child is absent from school through isolation.
Q How will this payment be made?
A The online application process for receipt of Free School Meals/Clothing Grant provided Parent/Guardian Bank Account information.  This information will be utilised to make payments during the period of isolation. This will be confirmed via contact with the Central Support Team
Q When will I receive the payment?
A The Council aim to have the payment with you within 48 hours of the Central Support team receiving confirmation of Bank Account information

Self-isolation guidance - Council letter to parents (Published 30 October 2020)

This letter was issued to parents/carers to provide additional guidance on self-isolation requirements to keep schools safe.

Council letter to parents/carers with self isolation guidance

Public Health Q&A for parents/carers and pupils (Published 4 September 2020)

NHSGGC and Glasgow City Council have issued a YouTube video of a question and answer session with NHSGGC Director for Public Health, Linda de Caestecker.  

The video contains useful information on the symptoms of coronavirus, when to self-isolate, when to get tested and how to seek further advice. 

There is also detailed guidance for parents on:
·    when should a child be asked to go home 
·    whether or not a child who has cold symptoms can still come to school
·    what happens when a teacher tests positive
·    if a school can ask to see a negative test result before allowing a child back to school?

The video is available on Glasgow City Council YouTube channel.
 

Pupil Absences from Schools - Council letter to parents/carers (Published 31 August 2020)

NHS Public Health have sent a letter to parents/carers through our schools to provide the latest guidance on testing for children on Thursday 27 August.  A further letter was issued by the Council from the Chief Education Officer on Friday 28 August in relation to pupil absences from schools.  Both letters are published here:

NHS Letter to parents/carers with Covid-19 Testing Guidance 

Council Letter to parents/carers on pupil absences from schools.

 

Covid-19 Testing Guidance - NHS letter to parents (Published 28 August 2020)

NHS Public Health have sent a letter to parents/carers through our schools to provide the latest guidance on testing for children. 

Letter to parents/carers with Covid-19 Testing Guidance
 

Cleaning Arrangements in Schools (Published 12 August 2020)

From August 2020,  there will be a new and enhanced cleaning regime within our schools and early years centres in response to Covid- 19. Read this leaflet to find out more about what we are doing to help keep everyone in our educational establishments safe.
 

 

Back to School Update (Published 22 June 2020)

Information is being provided to parents/carers today in relation to the reopening of schools in August.  That information includes:

  • A letter from Chief Education Officer Jacqui MacDonald, highlighting the principles in our planning for schools reopening and confirming the particular arrangements for their sector.
  • A letter from their Head Teacher with the specific arrangements for their school.
  • A leaflet with details of keeping safe on return to school and practical information in relation to school uniform, school bags, stationery and lunch boxes.

The East Dunbartonshire Local Phased Delivery Plan was the starting point for our individual School Recovery Plans.

You can read our Local Phased Delivery Plan here

You can read our back to school information leaflet here.

We have developed some consistent signage to ensure that there is clear messaging throughout our schools and that this is consistent across East Dunbartonshire.

 

        Keep your school safe