The Scottish Government has announced that from 11 - 29 January, most pupils should stay at home and learn remotely. Children of key workers and vulnerable children will be able to attend critical in-school learning and childcare. However most pupils and staff will remain at home as part of Scotland-wide restrictions to limit the spread of the new variant of Covid-19. This is different to the previous plans for a phased return in January 2021. It is important that we keep numbers in school buildings low and only for key workers and vulnerable families who have no other options.
Most aspects are being delivered through Google Classroom. This method will be used for those pupils accessing learning at home, and those pupils accessing learning in school (in key worker pupils and identified vulnerable pupils placements). However, schools will also consider the use of physical learning resources and active learning approaches as these may be equally or more appropriate to meeting the learning needs of pupils depending on the context.
In June 2020 all of our schools prepared contingency plans in the event that schools were not able to reopen in August 2020. These plans have been updated throughout the intervening period meaning that schools were able to respond to new guidance when the latest announcement was made. Schools will share their plans for remote learning directly with their families along with other important information that you may need.
In East Lothian, most of this learning will be delivered through Google Classrooms. This technology is already used across all of our primary and secondary schools and will be familiar to our pupils and families, including from lockdown in Spring 2020. Our teachers have worked hard to find new and innovative ways to deliver learning through this platform.
Access to IT devices
We have already issued 1400 devices to families where access to IT was a barrier to taking part in lessons, and a further 298 to vulnerable families and households within our communities. We can also provide dongles for wifi access if this is a barrier. If accessing remote learning is an issue in your home please speak to your school.
Remote learning is being planned to provide opportunities for pupils to consolidate previous learning and review key aspects of learning up to and including Christmas 2020. In light of the Scottish Government’s announcement that remote learning will be to the 1st of February 2021 the provision of new learning will also be considered by schools and practitioners as part of this remote learning approach. This approach to remote learning is based on the assumption that teachers know their learners best, and can arrange learning which is appropriate to the needs and circumstances of their learners.
Senior phase pupils
The Deputy First Minister has recently announced that for 2020-21, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results will be based on teacher and lecturer judgement supported by a strong set of checks which we call ‘quality assurance’. These checks will be carried out by your child’s school or college, local authority and SQA. Information for parents and guardians regarding arrangements for SQA National Qualifications for 2020-21 can be accessed from their website.
We recognise that this is a challenging time for our families. School buildings may be closed but our schools are on hand to help their pupils and families adapt to this new, temporary routine. Please contact your school if you have questions. There are also a lot of online resources available for parents through the Scottish Government's Parent Club and Education Scotland's ParentZone Scotland.
It is important that you continue to report any cases of Covid-19 in your household in the normal way even if your family is learning remotely. Please report cases to [email protected] or calling 01875 612 818 at any time. This helps us to have a fuller picture of cases within our school communities, which is especially important at this time, support test and protect if appropriate, monitor absence and support families. As this is an established process it also means there will be less confusion when our schools return to buildings.
If your child is attending in-school provision please do not send them if they, or anyone in your household, is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19. In the event of a positive test result please advise us on [email protected] or by calling 01875 612 818 at any time.
Free School Meals
Children and young people from key worker families who are in-school will receive lunch there. Those key worker children attending in-school provision part-time who are eligible for free school meals will be given a lunch pack by catering staff to take home for the days that week they are not in-school.
All pupils who meet the eligibility criteria and have registered for a free school meal will receive a BACS payment for 11 to 29 January 2021.