COVID 19- Letter from the Executive Director of Education and Children's Services
We are writing today to provide an update in respect of the planning to re-open schools and wish to start with thanking you for all your support at this time. We continue to deliver and support learning for term 4 and, in light of the announcement of the Scottish Government’s Route Map, are also planning for the reopening of Perth and Kinross schools and early learning and childcare (ELC) establishments when it is safe to do so (government and health advice). Under the direction of the Scottish Government, children and young people will return to schools and ELC settings from 11 August 2020.
Due to the need to maintain physical distancing, children and young people will not be able to return to schools and ELC full-time. This will mean there will be a mix of school and home learning for most pupils. There is much to be considered and we will keep parents and carers involved and informed as more information becomes available. Headteachers will maintain contact with their Parent Council and wider parent body and a meeting has been arranged for Parent Council Chairs on 4 June to discuss the reopening of schools. More information about this meeting will follow shortly to each of the Parent Council Chairs and Headteachers.
The Scottish Government advised on 30 March 2020 that councils are temporarily relieved of their statutory duty to provide 1140 funded hours of early learning and childcare from August 2020. The national commitment to provide these funded hours remains in place however full implementation of this is likely to be delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Once early learning and childcare settings are open physical distancing measures may need to be implemented which, in turn, may reduce the hours we are able to provide. As guidance on this becomes available to us, we will factor these into our planning and further communication will be issued.
Nursery to primary 1 transition is a key focus to ensure that children at this stage have access to information about their new school and its staff. This will be completed in a variety of forms: for example, your child’s new school may produce a
video to help your child become more familiar with their new school. Schools have been using technology in a variety of ways to help prepare P7 pupils for their new life in S1 as part of their transition programme. All of our usual processes to ensure curricular, pastoral and attainment information is appropriately shared are being followed. It may be appropriate for some children and young people to have the opportunity to visit their new building and meet some key staff during June. Your school will provide you with information about how they plan to organise this, if appropriate.
Headteachers are working with central staff and their senior management teams on the complex recovery planning process. The health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff is of critical importance in all of this work. The delivery of a blend of home and school learning from August requires to be carefully planned to meet the needs of each of our school communities. Headteachers will communicate with you regarding their specific plans for their school as they develop.
We are all aware that this been a time of significant change and adjustment. It will be normal for children and young people to be experiencing a range of emotions, including anxiety and frustration. Alongside of our work on physical safety, all staff will be working to support wellbeing and resilience as a priority. We recognise that this has been a challenging time and it is now very important that Education and Children’s Services and families work together towards a positive return to school and to learning.
We are continuing to provide childcare for key workers, now and over the summer into the new term where there will be a blended model of learning and we will keep you informed as that develops.
We know that you will be thinking a lot about the return to school and we wish to reassure you that we are working closely with headteachers, trade unions, national organisations and parent bodies to ensure that plans for the re-opening of schools take account of all national guidance and advice and that health and wellbeing and safety are our priorities.
Sheena Devlin Executive Director (Education and Children’s Services)
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