I would like to thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, to support your child's learning. Our schools and centres are grateful for all the support you have given during the period of remote learning. We know how challenging this time has been.
The Scottish Government has decided that a limited number of children and young people will return to the classroom from Monday 22 February, and I am writing to inform you of the arrangements.
Early Learning and Childcare
Children in early learning and childcare (nursery) will resume attendance on Monday 22 February. All parents/carers will be contacted by their nursery by Friday 19 February to inform them of detailed arrangements.
Pupils in P1-3 will return to school on Monday 22 February. All other pupils will continue remote learning. Where P4 - P7 pupils are in a composite class which includes P1 -P3 pupils, only the P1- P3 pupils will return to school. Schools will contact all parents of P1-3 pupils by Friday 19 February to inform them of detailed arrangements.
The arrangements for remote learning for pupils who are in P4 - P7 will continue.
A limited number of Senior Phase Pupils (S4-6) will come into school in order to complete practical tasks linked to national qualifications from Monday 22 February. They will not return full time. Each school will make its own individual plans using their local knowledge of pupils, their course choices and needs. Schools will contact all parents/carers of Senior Phase Pupils by Friday 19 February to inform them of the arrangements for the completion of practical tasks, and when pupils should attend. Senior Phase pupils must not attend school unless invited by their school.
Arrangements for remote learning for pupils who are not in school may be affected by these new plans, and schools will contact parents/carers to inform them of the changes which are necessary.
A new requirement for physical distancing will be in place in all secondary schools, with pupils required to keep 2m physical distance between each other, as well as between themselves and staff.
Face masks must continue to be worn by senior phase pupils.
Pupils in the senior phase who will attend school will be able to take part in voluntary Covid (Lateral Flow) Testing, and details of this have already been sent to parents/carers.
ASN Schools and Units
Headteachers of ASN Schools have already contacted parents and carers on arrangements for individual children and young people for return from 11 January and these arrangements will continue.
Pupils who normally travel by school transport will continue to be able to do so. If it is necessary to alter arrangements for any pupils, parents/carers will be informed by Friday 19 February.
A new requirement for physical distancing will be in place for all secondary aged pupils, with pupils required to keep 2m physical distance between each other, as well as between themselves and adults while using school buses.
Face coverings continue to be required for all children over age of 5 on school transport.
School Meals and Breakfast Clubs
Breakfast clubs will only be available for vulnerable children and children of keyworkers, as set out in Scottish Government guidance issued on 16 February.
Pupils in P1-3 attending school will receive their entitlement to free school meals.
School meals will be available for senior phase pupils if they are in school at lunchtime, and those entitled will receive free school meals.
Direct payments to parents/carers of pupils entitled to free school meals will continue, except for those in P1-3.
Children of Keyworkers, and Vulnerable Children
Separate arrangements have been made for children of key workers and vulnerable children and these remain in place. Children of key workers who have requested a place, and have received confirmation that a place is available, can continue to attend their school. Parents/carers of vulnerable children who have been contacted by their school can also continue to attend their school or nursery.
A new requirement for physical distancing will be in place for all secondary age pupils, with pupils required to keep 2m physical distance between each other, as well as between themselves and staff.
All schools and early learning and childcare settings will complete a revised risk assessment before children and young people return on 22 February 2021, including the introduction of the new requirement for physical distancing for all secondary age pupils, with pupils required to keep 2m physical distance between each other, as well as between themselves and staff.
All existing steps to limit the spread of Coronavirus will remain in place, including hand washing, distancing and use of face coverings, and distancing by parents/carers when dropping off and picking up children. All children and young people will be informed and updated on any changes to arrangements when they return to school.
Clinically Vulnerable Children and Young People
Children and young people at the highest clinical risk (individuals on the shielding list) have been advised by the Chief Medical Officer not to attend early learning and childcare or school. They will continue to be supported in remote learning.
Dr Elaine Cook
Depute Chief Executive
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
Please email: email@example.com
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.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 are operating as normal, but only children who have confirmed place in school that day should attend.
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.