Highland Council To Provide School Meals Throughout Easter Break
4th April 2020
Highland Council will continue to provide school meals through e-vouchers to families throughout the school Easter break. This is to recognise the particular difficulties many families will be experiencing due to the Coronavirus emergency.
This innovative and easy-to-use service is being delivered digitally through the use of e-vouchers which will ensure over 4,000 school children will continue to receive support for school meals while schools are closed. Families who are already receiving free school meal provision do not need to apply as the Council will automatically provide barcoded e-vouchers to eligible families.
The impact of Coronavirus has caused additional hardship and this process will ensure that the most vulnerable children can get food. Those who have been impacted, and haven't yet claimed free school meals, are being encouraged to apply for free school meals as soon as possible on the Council's website at this link
This will enable these families to benefit from school meal provision through the Council's e-voucher scheme. Arrangements are also in place to support vulnerable families who are receiving free school meals.
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.
Cllr Alister Mackinnon, Budget Leader, said: "The provision of food for many families is vitally important now, more especially than ever. We have taken the decision to continue the provision over the Easter fortnight to make sure children and families have what they need".
"The e-vouchers can be used in various supermarkets and staff are working really hard to extend this important scheme so that it reaches all families, especially those who live rurally, recognising that transport is not easy at the present time".
Help and support to apply for free school meals and benefits is available by emailing email@example.com.
A helpline number has also 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.
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.