Coronavirus outbreak: schools and learning updates

Update for parents and carers (25 May)


Childcare hubs and weekend childcare for key workers


Helping children and young people to cope during COVID-19

Following a statement by the Chief Examiner on 2nd April 2020, further guidance for parents and carers has been issued; this can be found on the SQA website or by clicking on this link: https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/93825.html.  Useful information can also be found on the National Parent Forum of Scotland website: https://www.npfs.org.uk/

The key points are:

  • Schools have been asked to provide an estimate of the grade and band for all learners entered for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses by 29th May 2020
  • The SQA will not mark any coursework which has already been submitted by schools and will not ask for coursework for any level to be submitted. 
  • Schools will assess all unit passes for National 2, National 3 and National 4 courses and free-standing units for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher by 22nd May 2020

Producing Estimates

SQA has issued advice to all schools on how to produce estimates.  Teachers will take account of a wide range of evidence throughout the year.  Estimates will not be based solely on pupil performance in prelims or assessments; teachers will use ongoing formal and informal assessment data, including progress in classwork, which reflect pupil performance up to 20th March 2020. Individual pupil circumstances will also be taken into account during this process. The SQA has advised that schools should exercise caution in considering work completed at home after 20th March 2020 when producing estimates.      

Awards

Information on how the SQA will use estimates to produce results can be found on the SQA website. Please note that the result produced by SQA may be higher or lower than the estimate submitted by the school.  Results will be issued by 4th August 2020.

Appeals

If the school disagrees with the result awarded by SQA, an appeal may be submitted.  Please note that appeals will be judged on evidence of pupils’ work provided by the school.  In many cases, the assessment evidence we have for each child may reflect a lower level of attainment than the estimate we submit. 

This is an anxious time for you, as parents and carers, and for our young people.  The SQA will not provide information to schools on how they arrive at the results of individual pupils.  Similarly, schools are unable to provide information to parents, carers and pupils on the estimate grades we provide.  Please be assured that your school knows its pupils and their individual circumstances well and will do its utmost to ensure that the estimates provided are an accurate reflection of the young person’s demonstrated and inferred attainment throughout the year. 

There will be some hub provision over the school Easter Holiday period for key workers who have exhausted all other childcare options. If you have not already booked the day(s) you require then please contact your local hub to book your place.  See below for hub contact details.

Out of School Clubs in Carnoustie, Forfar and Kirriemuir will NOT be open during the Easter holiday period. There will however be different provision in place between 3pm and 6pm during this period. If you need to access this contact the relevant school hub directly.

Update Monday 30 March 3pm

Our 10 childcare hubs have been open since Thursday 26 March. Uptake is steadily increasing with most hubs managing to contact all 3 categories of key workers. Due to demand in the Carnoustie area we are opening another hub at Burnside Primary School as of Tuesday 31 March. Please bear with us if you made an application for those localities and are yet to be contacted – demand in your area has been extremely high.

Hub management teams are responsible for the allocation of places. Any query should be made direct to the hub using the numbers below. If you did not make an application before our online questionnaire closed then your name will not be on the list held at the hub. Please let the hub staff know when you call that this is a ‘new application’.

Please remember the importance of social distancing when approaching and entering the hub. Please remember to give your child a packed lunch and snack and to provide emergency contact, health details etc to hub staff the first time you drop your child off.

Finally thank you for all of the essential roles you are undertaking. Please help us to help you by contacting the hub to cancel any days that you do not require. This will free up spaces for others.

Contact details for your locality hub are:

Ladyloan  Primary School 01241 465416

Carlogie Primary School   01241 465379

Hayshead Primary School 01241 465396

Inverbrothock Primary School 01241 465405

Grange  Primary School 01382 768101

Burnside Primary School 01241 465371

Lochside Primary School  01674 907513

Maisondieu Primary School  01356 237138

Langlands Primary School 01307 494262

Northmuir  Primary School 01575 526052

Liff  Primary School 01382 768109


Update 26 March 3.30pm

Angus childcare hubs

Following the national decision to close all schools and early learning and childcare facilities, we have opened childcare hubs across Angus to ensure key workers have access to childcare if they have exhausted all other childcare options, allowing them to carry out their essential roles during the unprecedented crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Key workers

Key workers have been split into three categories, as defined by Scottish Government. This is to ensure that we all think critically about what is considered a key worker, minimising the number of people who travel to work at a time when as many people as possible need to stay at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Applications for hubs

A week ago we opened a key worker application process, for parents and carers to apply for spaces at the childcare hubs.

This initial process closed on Tuesday at 8am, with 1139 applications received for over 1800 children. We have been reviewing and processing these applications around the clock ever since, with the circumstances of individual families or groups of key workers changing on a regular basis as well as a number of changes to the national position over the past week.

There are initially ten childcare hubs operating in our schools across Angus, and we have also engaged a range of partner nurseries and childminders to care for younger children. The numbers of children, and therefore staff, within these hubs must be kept to a minimum to support our effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This means we have to focus on prioritising the most critical applications first.

Yesterday we contacted the first set of key worker families about attending the hubs this morning, Thursday 26 March. The families contacted were those who had stated on their applications that they were either a sole parent/carer who is in Category 1 or a two-parent/carer family where both are Category 1. We are reviewing initial attendance at the hubs before moving on to the next wave of applications – those from the remaining families with a parent who is a Category 1 key worker.

We will move through the initial applications for all categories as quickly as we can, but must at all times ensure that the hubs are safely organised. This means considering not only the numbers of children and staff we expect to be in the building, but that we are able to observe important guidance on social distancing and cleanliness.

Other key worker categories

We appreciate that some key workers in Category 2 and Category 3 are just as anxious to get to work as those in Category 1. We are working hard to support this while ensuring we don’t do anything that could exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 or endanger our children, families, and staff. We can, however, assure you that our staff are working very hard to contact families and offer places.

For more information, and to answer some of the questions you have been raising with us, view our FAQs page.

Update 26 March 3.20pm

Free school meal information for parents/carers

We are working hard to find solutions to allow families to access their free school meal entitlement.

In the short term, families who have signed up for our ‘April Food Only’ vouchers will receive them next week through the post.

We are setting up a direct payment system as a longer-term solution. Once in place, further information on this will be sent out through your child’s school Groupcall. This will go out to all P1-3 families and all eligible P4 onwards.

All free school meal entitlement will be backdated to Monday 23 March.

If you are in urgent need of support please fill in an online Crisis Grant application. If eligible, these grants should be in bank accounts within 24-48 hours.

You can also use our online benefits calculator and a range of welfare rights advice and support on our help with benefits and/or debts pages.

Update Wednesday 25 March 3pm

Angus schools will remain closed to the majority of pupils however a bespoke childcare hub will operate in each town in Angus plus an additional location in Sidlaw as of tomorrow, Thursday 26 March.

The hub provision will, in the first instance, provide childcare for the following three groups of children:

  • Children where the family has been contacted previously by their usual school to say that they can continue to attend schooling
  • Children of families who have completed a key worker application form where both parents are category 1 key workers and all other childcare options have been exhausted
  • Children of single parent families who have completed a key worker application form where the parent is a category 1 key worker and all other childcare options have been exhausted.

The children listed above are the only children who should attend the hub locations tomorrow, Thursday 26 March.  Staff at the hub will have a list of the details of all those who fall into the categories above and will be staffed accordingly.

If you have completed a key worker application form, and you fall out with the categories listed above then please do not take your child to the hub location as your child will not be able to be accommodated at this point.  Further communication will be shared as soon as possible regarding the places for children from families in other key worker categories who have exhausted all other childcare options.

If your child falls into one of the categories listed above:

Due to the high demand for places and the required staffing, children can be dropped off at school hubs from 8.45am and can be collected at the end of the school day.

After school provision is available in each of the hub areas for children who are primary age.  If you need to access this provision then please make direct contact with the Out of School Club listed below to book your child’s place.  If you need to access the after school session being hosted by Angus Active School’s Activities then please book your child into this when you drop them off at the hub location.

If you require to access early learning and childcare please pay particular attention to the age groups of children that each hub location can accommodate.

If you are accessing early learning and childcare from a setting that is not a school i.e. a private provider or a childminder, then please contact them directly to book your child’s place.

If your hub area does not offer the childcare that covers the age of your child then please contact a private provider listed below in any of the other hub areas who would be able to meet your family’s needs.  If you are accessing your childcare from a private provider or a childminder then you will not be charged for these hours as these costs will be met by Angus Council.

If your child has complex needs and is entitled to, and currently accesses, ASN transport please contact Jackie Sturrock on ACCESSSchoolsLearnContracts@angus.gov.uk to discuss this further.

All children accessing hub provision will need to bring a packed lunch and snacks with them that meet their dietary requirements. 

The council is working on an electronic system for supporting families entitled to free school meals. Until we have this in place, a cold lunch bag will be available for all entitled children (from P1 upwards).

ON ARRIVAL

Please take all precautions to socially distance at all times from anyone who does not live in your household and adhere to any hygiene protocols that the hub has in place.

You must provide details of emergency contacts, medical information and the name of who will collect your child if this is not the category 1 key worker.

For those parents who have requested the Arbroath High school area, you will be contacted to say whether you have been allocated the Ladyloan or the Inverbrothock hub.  For all other areas, parents should ensure that their children attend the hub in the location that they selected on the key worker application form.

If you have now sourced a different source of childcare then please email AitchisonJ@angus.gov.uk as soon as possible for your application to be removed and so we can allocate your child’s space to another key worker if space and staffing allow. 

If you have already emailed to cancel your request there is no need to email again – we will remove your application however, due to the number of applications and subsequent cancellation requests, there may be a small delay in this being processed.

The Angus Council hub location offer is as follows:

  Early Learning and Childcare Primary and Secondary Out of School Provision (until 6pm)
Arbroath Academy area

Hayshead School (age 3 upwards)

Louise McFarlane (Childminder)* (from birth)

Sharon Birkett (Childminder)*  (from birth)

Amy Falconer  (Childminder)*(from birth)

Hayshead School

Active Schools Activities in Hayshead School

Arbroath High Area – parents will be contacted to inform them which primary school their child should attend

Ladyloan School (age 2 upwards)

Inverbrothock School (age 3 upwards)

Louise McFarlane (Childminder)* (from birth)

Sharon Birkett   (Childminder)*  (from birth)

Amy Falconer  (Childminder)*(from birth)

Ladyloan School 

Inverbrothock School 

Active Schools Activities in Ladyloan School

Out of School Club based in Inverbrothock School* 

Brechin

Playspaces* (from birth)

Smallworld* (from birth)

Maisondieu 

Playspaces* 

Carnoustie 

Carlogie School (age 3 upwards)

Claire Rae – Little Raes of Sunshine (Childminder)*  (from birth)

Carlogie School

Out of School Club based in Carlogie School* 

Forfar 

Lemon Tree*  (from birth)

Keli Pirie – Keli Tots (Childminder)* (from birth)

Langlands School 

Out of School Club based in Langlands School* 

Kirriemuir

Northmuir School (age 3 upwards)

Northmuir School Out of School club based in Northmuir School 
Monifieth

Grange School (age 3 upwards)

Grange School 

Active School’s Activities in Grange School  

Montrose

Little Beehive* (from birth)

Rompers* (from birth)

Lochside School (age 3 upwards)

Lochside School  Active Schools Activities in Lochside School 

Sidlaw 

Auchterhouse 

Birkhill 

Liff 

Strathmartine 

Tealing

Busy Bees at Dundee West  (Thomas Wise Place, Dundee) * (from birth)

Liff School (age 3 upwards)

Liff School  Out of School Club based in Liff School* 

 

* Please note - may be subject to revision and review.


Update Tuesday 24 March 4.45pm

Angus schools will be closed to all children and young people on Wednesday 25 March 2020.

Due to the extremely high demand for childcare from key workers in Angus, places for Category 1 workers will be allocated in the first instance. These parents will receive confirmation of their place tomorrow by email. 

Childcare will be provided at specific hubs from Thursday 26 March 2020. Please bring your confirmation email and appropriate photo identification with you, such as a passport or driving licence. Please remember that this provision is for those key workers who have exhausted all other childcare options.

If you have found alternative childcare arrangements and no longer require a place, please contact AitchisonJ@angus.gov.uk to withdraw your application.


Thank you for your patience and understanding as we endeavour to put suitable and safe arrangements in place.

Update Monday 23 March 10.15pm

In light of the Prime Minister's and First Minister's announcements this evening, Angus Council will be supporting their call for as many people to stay at home as possible.

To this end, we will be closing ALL SCHOOLS AND EARLY LEARNING AND CHILDCARE places for TUESDAY 24 MARCH.

Parents and carers who accessed these services today must make alternative arrangements. However, we hope to move to the hub model for WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH  to support vulnerable children and children of key workers. Further details will be shared tomorrow by 5pm.

NO SCHOOL MEALS will be provided tomorrow as uptake today was low and requirements will be reassessed for Wednesday.

Families of vulnerable children needing support will be contacted by Angus Council directly tomorrow.

Update Monday 23 March 6:30pm

ALL SCHOOLS WILL ONCE MORE BE OPEN for children who need to be in schools

NO SCHOOL TRANSPORT WILL RUN TOMORROW

The provision for school lunches will be the same as today, but will reflect the more accurate numbers of children attending. This includes free school lunch bags available for collection for entitled children who are not attending school.

From Wednesday 25 March, we will be providing a bespoke learning and childcare hub in each town in Angus, plus an additional location in Sidlaw. More detail about the arrangements in each of these areas will be posted on these pages tomorrow.

We will offer transport for children (who are primary aged and above) who require it going forward, but this may not be in place by Wednesday.

Further information on arrangements for Wednesday onwards will be posted on these pages.

Update Monday 23 March 5pm

All schools will be open tomorrow Tuesday 24 March, to support those groups identified previously:

Children over two years of age and young people who are in any of the following categories -

  • If your school has contacted you directly to advise that your child/children may attend
  • If you are a key worker (more details below) and have exhausted all other childcare options

There will be NO school transport.

Update Sunday 22 March 3.45pm

Following the First Minister’s statement on Sunday 22 March at 2.30pm, the advice given on the arrangements for schools has changed.

NO senior pupils in S4, S5 and S6 should attend school tomorrow in order to keep numbers in schools to an absolute minimum

We will be working with the SQA in the coming days to ensure that our children and young people are appropriately accredited for their efforts this session.

Update - Sunday 22 March 2020, 10:30am

Schools and Early Learning and Childcare Arrangements

To clarify, all schools and early learning centres closed on Friday 20 March until further notice.

However, in order to support three particular groups of children and young people, ALL SCHOOLS and (council run) early learning centres will be open on Monday (23 March 2020) for children over two years of age and young people who are in any of the following three categories:

  •  If your school has contacted you directly to advise that your child/children may attend
  •  If your child/children is/are in S4-6 and has SQA coursework which needs to be completed (this advice has since been updated)
  • If you are a key worker (more details below) and have exhausted all other childcare options

If you are, or think you are, a key worker according to the definitions below. PLEASE SEND YOUR CHILD TO YOUR USUAL SCHOOL or NURSERY ON MONDAY while we review the applications via the form below.

ALL SCHOOL TRANSPORT WILL RUN AS USUAL ON MONDAY.

Application form

PLEASE NOTE:

  • If you have a two year old, we can support them in specific settings, so please fill in the form and we will phone you back to discuss which local authority or private setting would be best for you.
  • If your child (any age) attends a private or voluntary provider who is remaining open, please still fill in the form and tell us which one so we can see if they can offer places to other families who need them.
  • If your child attends a setting that is temporarily closing, please fill in the form and we will contact you to offer a place at an alternative location in your chosen area.

For parents with children under two years old, we are currently liaising with private nurseries to see which of them are remaining open so that we can point parents in the direction of private provision that will meet the 0-2 age group demand.

We hope that this work will be completed by WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH when we will confirm places and locations going forward.

Definition of Key Workers:

  • 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 (eg 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 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 note that we can currently only support children who are already in either funded childcare or at school.

There will be further information coming forward in the next few days so please continue to follow Angus Council on Facebook and Twitter.

Update - Friday 20 March 4pm

Your child can continue to attend school from Monday 23 March if:

  • your school has contacted you directly to advise that your child may attend
  • your child is in S4-6 and has SQA coursework which needs to be completed
  • you are a key worker (more details below) and have exhausted all other childcare options

Most children and young people in Angus will be learning at home. They will do this online or with resources provided by schools.

Meals and transport

If your child is attending school from Monday, we can confirm that SCHOOL TRANSPORT WILL RUN AS USUAL.

Provision for school meals will be via sandwich bags or children bringing their own packed lunches.

Secondary schools may provide a limited range of heated food. Free school meals will be sandwich bags.

If your child is not attending school but you would like to access their free school meal, you can collect it from the school during the school lunch hour.

What is a key worker?

If you are a key worker, as defined in the categories below, and have exhausted all other childcare options please complete our online application by 8am on TUESDAY 24 MARCH. If you are unsure which category applies to you, please complete the form as best you can.

At this time, we are gathering information for children who would otherwise attend school or funded early learning and childcare in a council setting.

If required, you may send your child to school or nursery until we respond to your application. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Key worker categories:

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 (including teachers and nursery workers)

Category 2

All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (eg 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 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)

Which schools are open?

We are opening all schools on Monday. Once we have a clearer idea of demand, we will look to reduce the number of schools we are opening. This may mean that whilst we will continue to provide childcare and learning, it may be provided in a different location.

Thank you for your continued patience as we all work together in these challenging times.


School arrangements following Deputy First Minister's announcement

Thursday 19 March 

Statement for parent and carers


Statement regarding exams 

Thursday 19 March

A Statement by the Chief Executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer has been published on the SQA's website.


Statement Regarding School Closures

18 March 2020

We are preparing for the closure of all Angus Council schools and early learning settings on Friday 20 March 2020 in line with national guidance. This follows the latest statement by the First Minister today (Wednesday 18 March).

Further Scottish Government advice is expected tomorrow when the Education Secretary addresses the Scottish Parliament and we will update you with more information following his announcement.

We understand that families across Angus will have many questions about this unprecedented step and we will try to provide further details as soon as they become available.

We are working with Scottish Government to look at the implications of these closures. This includes:

  • the provision of free school meals
  • continued provision of learning, especially for those involved in SQA assessments and examinations
  • continued support to children and families by key school staff
  • the impact school closure may have on parents/carers working in emergency, health and other priority service areas.

This is a challenging and worrying time for everybody. Be assured that Angus Council will continue to do everything we can to support our children and young people, their families, our staff and our wider communities throughout.

Impact on exams and certification

The Scottish Government and SQA issued a statement on Thursday 18 March following the Qualifications Contingency Group meeting about coronavirus and the impact on August 2020 certification. SQA are working through a range of scenarios, including the event that there is significant disruption to exams.

It includes information about their exceptional circumstances service, which allows a school or college who believe that a candidate has suffered, for example bereavement or illness during exams, or has been self-isolating, to inform SQA of the circumstances and submit alternative evidence of attainment demonstrated by the candidate.

You can read the full statement on SQA’s website.

We are strongly encouraging all candidates to sign up to MySQA, the SQA’s online and text service, as a direct way to receive updates about exams.


Letter to parents 

Tuesday 17 March

Angus Council's director of education and lifelong learning has written to all parents and carers of pupils at Angus schools.

View the letter


Murroes Primary School

Sunday 16 March

Angus Council has temporarily closed Murroes Primary School in order to undertake a deep clean after a suspected positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) related to the school.

The school will be closed on Monday 16 March and reopen on Wednesday 18 March. Parents will be contacted directly via the usual channels.

For more information view the news item.


Overseas trips

Thursday 12 March

Guidance on overseas school trips - as referenced by the First Minister on 12 March.

This guidance advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18. This is because trip leaders would face significant challenges in making arrangements to ensure children’s welfare, should adult supervisors or children be required to self-isolate.

It also gives advice for students and staff in the education sector planning to travel in the UK or overseas, and for those who are already overseas.