East Lothian Council is continuing to support our children and young people during the national closure of schools.
To meet the emergency learning and childcare needs of key workers, we are operating six Children’s Hubs located at:
- Dunbar Primary School (John Muir Campus)
- St Mary’s Primary School/Haddington Primary School (infant campus)
- Law Primary School, North Berwick
- Preston Tower Primary School (infant campus), Prestonpans
- Sanderson’s Wynd Primary School, Tranent
- Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School, Musselburgh
The Hubs will provide emergency childcare for children with at least one parent who is a key worker and who don’t otherwise have another adult at home to care for them.
Demand for places is high. We are in the process of allocating places. In Phase 1 of this process, we have used information provided by parents/carers to identify those who are key workers in accordance with definitions provided by the Scottish Government, with a particular focus on ‘Category 1’ workers.
Parents in this category who have been allocated places for their children will be notified individually by East Lothian Council of the arrangements being made for their children today (Tuesday 24 March 2020). It is anticipated that places for these identified children will begin on Wednesday 25 March 2020. If you are not contacted, you should ensure that your children remains at home.
We are also reviewing the requirements of vulnerable children and children with additional support needs.
Next, we will move to Phase 2 of allocating places where, if available in the Hubs, we may be able to allocate places to some parents who fall into other employment categories. If successful, these parents will be notified by East Lothian Council that a place can be provided in a Children’s Hub for their child by Friday 27 March. These Phase 2 places will start on Monday, 30 March 2020.
We will notify parents if we are unable to provide childcare places in the week beginning Monday 30 March 2020. It is essential that parents notify us if they no longer require a place.
We appreciate your patience as we establish emergency childcare for keyworkers at this challenging time.
Each Hub will be overseen by a leadership team including a Head Teacher, supported by teaching, other specialist and support staff. At the early stages, Hubs will be open from 9am until 3pm with extended day provision being planned from next week. We will also provide food for our children in the Hubs.
Free school meals
At this stage, free school meals for those eligible can be collected from one of the Children’s Hubs mentioned above. As we are seeking to make this as easy as possible – particularly for those living in outlying communities – we will be reviewing this process ahead of next week.
We are maximising the use of digital technology to support learning for children who are being cared for at home. This includes use of online tools which children and teachers can use to provide learning for children at home through Google G-Suite. Teachers are posting learning assignment tasks for children, including active learning opportunities which they can undertake with their families.
We hope there will also be opportunities to participate in live lessons and we are working to support staff on this. These tools can be accessed through tablets, smartphones and home computers. We have provided Chromebooks for children without access to such devices at home.
Lesley Brown, Chief Operating Officer (Education), said:
“I’m very grateful to everyone in our school communities for their support in recent days.
“Although it is a challenging time for families and children will be missing their friends, we are heartened by the many stories of young people embracing remote learning with enthusiasm.
“I’d like to pay tribute to all of our education and school staff for their hard work and commitment. A huge amount of effort has gone into preparing resources for online learning and helping our school communities at this time.
“Our staff have responded very positively to our plans to introduce Children’s Hubs in each of the six cluster areas of East Lothian. This will provide continued access to learning or childcare for the children of key workers, enabling them to play a full and active part in supporting the local and national response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
“We have also been working with our private and voluntary nurseries and will be providing information on our continued support for young people in S4-6 who had been due to be sitting exams. We want to enable these students to work remotely to complete coursework with support in place from our teams so that sufficient evidence can be submitted to the SQA for certification purposes.
“As difficult a time as this is, I’m proud of the collective effort which has gone into enabling us to be in a position to support the children and young people of East Lothian.”