Key Worker Hubs Set Up By Highland Council
25th March 2020
The Council has been working at pace to set up centres for the children of key workers. Anyone who has applied for a place at one of the key worker hubs in the Highland Council area will be contacted by the end of today (Wednesday 25th) with confirmation of the arrangements that have been put in place.
The centres are expected to be hosted at the following schools: Millburn Academy, Inverness Royal Academy; Dingwall Academy; Portree High School; Lochaber High School; Ullapool Academy; Golspie High School, Noss Primary and Miller Academy.
These centres will be staffed by volunteers drawn from Council staff, all of whom will have been checked to ensure that they are enrolled in the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG). Please note the following key points about allocation of places in the Hubs for the children of key workers:
- Please be aware that the number of places we will be able to offer in the Highland Council area is limited and so not everyone who has requested a place will get one. We need to prioritise for those directly involved in addressing the health crisis linked with Covid-19 and others involved in the associated emergency response. However, we will be working hard to increase capacity over the coming days and weeks.
- Requesting a place in a Hub should be a choice of last resort. You should only request a place when you have exhausted all other possible means of providing childcare for your child(ren) while you are at work. The Scottish Government has issued public health advice about this and expects parents/carers to have explored all other options, such as using partners who are not key workers, using older children to supervise younger children, seeking changed shift patterns to avoid the need for childcare and so on.
- Children of key workers in age groups 0-5 will be placed in nursery settings and wherever possible, will remain with their existing childcare providers.
- The hubs will not replicate a school setting. Children will be expected to bring in the work and materials that have been allocated to them through their own school and they will be supervised whilst they work though these. Where practical and safe, age appropriate activities will also be arranged. Social distancing and health and hygiene practices will be in place - albeit in recognition that with young, energetic, children this will be a challenge to maintain at all times.
- It remains the case that home is the safest place for everyone, including children.
The most recent government information on Key Workers can be found at: https://news.gov.scot/news/supporting-coronavirus-key-workers
The Highland Council, NHS Highland and Police Scotland are working closely to ensure that we all stay alert to the threat of COVID-19. The public are being asked to be vigilant and observe all guidance especially when attending licensed premises.
An update on the recruitment of teaching positions in Highland was presented to Members of the Council's Education Committee yesterday (6 August 2020). Head of Education, Nicky Grant, said: "I want to thank our staff members who have stepped into these vacancies while we continue in our recruitment of teaching and support staff.
Members at yesterday's (6 August) meeting of Education Committee, heard about the success of schools across Highland communities and, specifically, drivers of success from Highland Head Teachers from Portree High, Dingwall Academy, Thurso High, Kingussie High, and St Clement's School in Dingwall. Chair of the Education Committee, Councillor John Finlayson, said: "The achievements and resilience of our young people across the Highlands has to be congratulated along with the positive results we have heard about today.
Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) update. At yesterday's (6 August) meeting of the Education Committee, Members were updated on the Council's provision of ELC, as part of the return of school and ELC settings.
The Highland Council and Police Scotland are urging drivers to slow down near schools as term starts next week across Highland and pupils return to schools from 12th August onward. Highland Council is warning parents and pupils that part time flashing 20mph signs around Highland Schools will not be operating as normal - due to a technical error caused by inactivity of the signs over the long period of lockdown.
The improving trend of attainment is continuing in Highland as demonstrated by the SQA results published today. Attainment in Highland schools has risen against all key indicators and improvement is also around 2% above national levels of improvement.
Members were today asked to note the good progress being made in relation to the local authority's Recovery Action Plan despite the significant challenges faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlighted that important work on the 11 key priorities continues at pace.
The Highland Council is issuing a reminder that no more than 20 people should attend a funeral service in person. No changes to these restrictions on funeral services were announced by the Scottish Government following the three weekly formal review of coronavirus controls last week.
Move towards a more sustainable delivery of humanitarian assistance proposed as Highland navigates COVID-19 recovery phase. Staff and Communities have been praised for their outstanding response to the Covid-19 emergency.
Today's announcement from the First Minister is very much what we have been anticipating and preparing for in our return to Highland education settings. It is a great reassurance that we can now continue with our work to achieve a full return of pupils and staff, including those who were previously shielding, in August.