West Lothian schools are ready for the second stage in the phased return of pupils.
From Monday 15 March, all children in P 4 - 7 will return to school on a full-time basis. All primary school children will also be able to return to regulated childcare, including after school and breakfast clubs.
It is also the intention that all secondary school pupils will return to spend some time in school from 15 March until the Easter break. From 15 March, in secondary schools there will be a combination of in-school learning and remote learning for all S1 - S6 pupils.
All secondary pupils are expected to return to full-time schooling after Easter, subject to continued suppression of the virus and the requirement for 2 metre physical distancing between young people being removed. Individual schools will put specific arrangements in place and communicate directly with parents and young people.
West Lothian Council, via schools, has issued information to all parents/carers earlier today.
In line with national guidance here are some key points to note:
- Senior phase learners who are taking national qualifications, must have priority for face to face learning and teaching in school
- In the run up to Easter, remote learning will remain in place, although it is recognised that the nature of it may change given that schools are prioritising face-to-face learning
- Face coverings should now be worn at all times by staff and young people in secondary schools; including S1-S3 learners (not just the senior phase) in classrooms, in communal areas and when moving about the school
- The requirement for 2 metre distancing in secondary schools may be relaxed when young people are outdoors for the purpose of outdoor activities and learning
- Subject to continued suppression of the virus, some senior phase school learners studying SCQF level 6 Foundation Apprenticeships may commence a limited return to college campuses for essential practical coursework
- Special schools (ASN) and enhanced support provision will continue to communicate with parents on an individual basis.
- School transport will return as normal, but the 2 metre distancing rule for secondary pupils on school busses will be relaxed, and replaced with other mitigations, for example each pupil sitting on their own wherever possible
- School meals, including free school meals, will be available for pupils attending school. Arrangements for direct payment to parents/carers of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals will continue until the end of the Easter holidays
The offer of twice-weekly at-home lateral flow testing will be extended to all secondary pupils after the Easter break. Subject to sufficient supplies being available, schools will offer S1-3 pupils testing kits before Easter.
James Cameron, West Lothian Council's Head of Education, said:
"Once we get over the initial return it is extremely important that our school communities are allowed to move on with their learning and their own development. The council and schools have worked extremely hard to ensure that parents receive timely and accurate information throughout this pandemic and we will continue to ensure this continues.
"Rest assured, we have done everything we can to ensure schools are safe and welcoming environments for all children and we look forward to welcoming all our young people back to school in the near future."
Important for parents/carers of vulnerable pupils and children of key workers
The normal Attendance Policy and procedures still apply. If you have been allocated a place to attend school/nursery you must inform the school if your child will not attend, as you would normally. (for example, if you have an alternative arrangement, they are ill or have a medical appointment).
If your child does not attend on the days allocated to them a GroupCall message will be sent to you recording the non-attendance.
FAQs regarding Return to School
The Scottish Government announced on Saturday 19 December that all schools/ELCs in Scotland would do this as part of a range of measures designed to stop the spread of Covid-19. More information at Coronavirus (COVID-19): school re-opening arrangements for January 2021
All West Lothian schools and ELCs will be open. Vulnerable and key worker children will be allocated a place at their usual school.
Applications will only be accepted for P4-P7 and S1-S3.
In line with Scottish Government guidance aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus, key workers should only apply for place in school for their children if they have no other alternatives.
As you are now submitting a late application for a key worker place, you will be asked to explain why your circumstances have recently changed resulting that you now require a place for your child. You will be asked which category of key worker your work falls under. We may ask for proof from your employer that you are a key worker and unable to work from home. If, for example, you work in construction/building - we may ask for proof from your employer about where your work is located to ensure it is essential work.
To qualify for a place, any/both parent/carers must be key workers and must not be able to work from home.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "APPLICATION REQUEST" asking for an application form to be sent to you if you feel you meet these guidelines.
The Scottish Government have identified categories of Key Workers are outlined below:
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 (e.g 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.
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).
Please only apply for a key worker childcare place if you do not have any alternatives.
You should only apply for days when you have no other childcare alternatives. Please only apply for the days you need.
Parents/carers of ELC children should only apply for their usual days, so if your child normally attends on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you cannot apply for childcare for other days.
We will let you know as soon as possible and no later than Monday 4 January 2021 for those who applied by 31 December 2020
Yes, if you book a place for a child of a key worker, or your child is allocated a place as a vulnerable child, you must inform the school if your child will not attend as you would normally.
Yes, all staff required for the running of a school are classed as key workers, which includes teachers, support workers, facilities management, cleaning and catering staff.
Yes, the same applies to both schools and ELCs
Yes. Parents/carers of pupils at these schools will be contacted by their school by Thursday 31 December to confirm individual arrangements for your child/children.
An updated list of children identified by their school as benefitting from attendance is being compiled, and all parents/carers of children identified will receive a Groupcall or be contacted by their school. Most parents/carers will be contacted by Groupcall by Monday 4 January however some may be contacted directly by their school from Tuesday 5 January onwards on the return of staff to school buildings.
Children who will be in school on the non-teaching week between from Wednesday 6 January - Friday 8 January will not be required to wear their school uniform. From when learning resumes on Monday 11 January, children who are required to be in school should wear their uniform as normal.
Children who are eligible for a Key Worker place at their school/nursery will be given a place for the days in which they require. These placements will be for the entire school day on the days needed and children should attend their school/nursery as normal including for morning registration and leaving at the end of the usual school/nursery day.
All school transport will run as normal for pupils who have confirmed place in school only.
Breakfast clubs will only be available for vulnerable children and children of keyworkers, as set out in Scottish Government guidance issued on 16 February.
School canteens will be open as usual for both paying and Free School Meal children, and paying children can order as normal.
All parents/carers who are eligible for free school meals will receive an extra payment of £24 on Saturday 9 January to cover the cost of meals for the week.
This payment will be made to parents/carers in free school meals households for children in P4 to S6 who receive Free School Meals in this current academic year 2020/21.
Children in P1 to P3 receiving universal entitlement to Free School Meals will only qualify for a payment if they received a School Clothing Grant in this current academic year.
The majority of children will learn online via Teams, with P1-P3 children provided learning through SeeSaw. Anyone who does not have internet access or suitable devices should contact their school, who will arrange for them to be provided with devices or paper copies as appropriate.
We are planning on re-opening all schools/ELCs as normal on Monday 18 January in line with current Scottish Government guidance. If this guidance changes, we will notify parents/carers as soon as possible.
Schools will consider assessment plans and advise pupils on any changes to arrangements before schools resume on Monday 11 January.
Nurseries and Out of School Childcare for School Aged Children
Up to 18 January 2021, early learning and childcare (including private partner providers) and school age childcare services can only open to children of key workers and vulnerable children.
If your child attends a private nursery, please speak to your private provider direct.