Highland Council To Launch E-vouchers For Free School Meals
27th March 2020
Highland Council will be providing e-vouchers to families to support access to free school meals from week commencing 30 March 2020.
This innovative and easy-to-use service will ensure over 4,000 school children will continue to receive support for school meals while schools are closed. For the majority of pupils, this will be delivered digitally through e-vouchers for food in local supermarkets.
Enabling choice will provide flexibility and also help to reduce waste, as food can be purchased according to need or preference in the household. Some restrictions do apply as the e-vouchers cannot be used to purchase age restricted products such as tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets and fuel.
The impact of Coronavirus has caused many vulnerable families additional hardship and this process will ensure that the most vulnerable children can get food.
Highland Council continues to investigate other ways of providing food across the Highlands for vulnerable groups within the rapidly changing environment. This includes working closely with High Life Highland, Eden Court and our many partners including the Third Sector. Further information will be provided in due course.
Cllr John Finlayson, Chair of the Education Committee, said: "The provision of school meals is a priority service that we are committed to delivering including during when schools are closed in the current times. I applaud the Highland Council staff who are working hard to implement this service as quickly as possible and for e-vouchers to be issued next week".
A helpline number has been set up for anyone who is struggling and needing urgent help during this crisis. The single line number - 0300 303 1362 - will connect callers to relevant Council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. All calls are free.
Members of The Highland Council's Housing and Property Committee have agreed a one-year capital investment plan of £15.667 million to be spent improving existing housing stock - £1 million of which will be specifically to fund aids and adaptations for disabled tenants. The money will be allocated on an area-by-area basis with local members making decisions on projects to be carried out during 2021-2022.
Members of The Highland Council's Housing and Property Committee have had the chance to discuss the progress made to implement a Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan aimed at tackling homelessness. In November 2018 the Scottish Government and COSLA published the "Ending Homelessness Together" Action Plan which included the recommendation that all local authorities produce Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans to document how they would tackle homelessness.
All Highland Council school lets will remain suspended to assist in the Government's goal in suppressing the coronavirus. We will review this position in October and will reopen the lets booking process, in line with national Covid-19 guidance, when it is deemed safe to do so.
Members of today's postponed Corporate Resources Committee have supported recommendations contained in item 9 of today's report, regarding critical issues around COVID-19 school trip refunds. Those members who would have been in attendance at today's meeting were contacted by the Chair of the Committee, Cllr Alister Mackinnon, due to the importance of a decision being made on this item.
Pupils travelling by dedicated school transport. ‘Dedicated school transport' means transport which is only available to pupils.
Pupils whose results were downgraded by the SQA are to receive new grades based solely on teacher estimates. The SQA's alternative certification model was put in place after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Notice is hereby given under section 11(2) (b) of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 ("the Act") that Highland Council proposes to make The Highland Council (Limekiln Forest, Reay, Caithness) Order 2020 ("the Order") under section 11(1) of the Act. The effect of the Order will be to exempt a 7.8km length of forest track at Limekiln Forest, Reay, Caithness (part of Limekiln Forest Core Path CA11.03) from the access rights which would otherwise be exercisable in respect of the land by virtue of Part 1 of the Act.
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.