Highland's young people encouraged to apply without delay for Education Maintenance Allowance
5th June 2020
All eligible young people are being encouraged to apply for a weekly, term time allowance of £30 per week from August.
The Highland Council administers Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in respect of eligible young people from across its 29 secondary schools. Colleges administer this scheme for their students.
This Allowance provides an incentive for young people aged 16-19 from lower income families to continue with their post-16 education, either in school or college. Eligibility for the scheme is based upon the total taxable household income for 2019/20:
up to £24,421 taxable income for households with 1 dependant child
up to £26,884 taxable income for households with 2 or more dependant children.
Sheila McKandie, The Highland Council's Interim Head of Revenues and Customer Services said: "Last year, around 750 young people across our secondary schools benefited from a total of £700,000 from this Allowance and we know from supporting our young people that this helped them to continue with their school education.
"This weekly term time allowance is paid directly into the young person's bank account and does not affect the child benefit or other benefits being paid to their parents or carers. Applications are now being accepted for the 2020/21 academic year from Highland school pupils in post-16 education."
She added: “I am encouraging all young people from across the Highland Council area who are eligible to apply, to do so as quickly as possible. This will ensure they do not miss out on £30.00 every week, during each of the school terms, from August. Particularly at this time, when many families are experiencing such significant income shocks, we are working hard to raise awareness about the financial support that is available."
Further information about Education Maintenance Allowance, including full eligibility criteria, is available on the Highland Council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/ema
The Council’s Welfare Support Team can complete the online application form with the young person and in the wider context, can support all eligible households to apply for benefits and other entitlements. The Welfare Support Team can be contacted by telephoning 0800 090 1004 or emailing email@example.com
Chairman of the Education Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: “Year on year, many of our young people benefit from this payment as it puts money in their pockets and supports their access to education and whatever learning pathways they wish to choose. My advice would be that our Welfare Support Team is on hand to help with the application process, so please don’t miss out.”
The Highland Council is updating parents and carers of its position on early learning and childcare (ELC). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Scottish Government removed the statutory requirement for Local Authorities to deliver 1140 hours of ELC from August.
Following on from the recent publication of Highland Council's Supporting Economic Recovery in Highland - A Guide for Businesses - the Council is announcing relaxation of some controls that will assist tourist accommodation providers have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In recognition of this where there are specific planning and licensing controls in relation to occupancy, for example: a restriction on the occupancy of any caravan for a continuous 12 month period; or where conditions restrict occupancy for specific periods of time, ...these will be relaxed by the Council up to and including April 2021.
The Caithness Committee met virtual today for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic and it's agenda focused on the actions taken by the Council and the third sector to deal with the effects of Coronavirus in Caithness. The Executive Chief Officer for Education and Learning, Paul Senior, gave members an update on the plans and preparations underway to prepare for the return of pupils and staff to Caithness schools in August.
Margaret Davidson, the Leader of the Highland Council has given her strong support to the efforts of the Scottish Government to obtain greater fiscal flexibility from the UK Government. The Scottish Government have sought flexibility to offset capital underspend against resource expenditure, more flexibility over resource borrowing and greater flexibility over the use of the reserve for capital.
The Highland Council is planning to re-open play areas across the region throughout summer. Advice was provided by the Scottish Government on 28 June as to the safety measures that should be applied.
The Highland Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland recognised to develop a Schools Digital Learning Hub, which provides a resource for staff, parents and pupils to support home learning. Prior to Covid-19, we had an estate of 27,000 Chromebooks that were already a part of our ICT in Learning Strategy.
Earlier today (Wednesday 1 July 2020) members of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee had the opportunity to discuss (by video conference) progress made with the Corran Ferry Project which is reviewing the options for securing a replacement ferry and considering the way forward for the future operation and management of the service. The Corran ferry service has reached a critical point and strategic decisions need to be made.
As Scotland prepares for the easing of lockdown and the re-opening of the tourism and hospitality sector, The Highland Council's Environmental Health are advising holiday accommodation providers to make sure their private water supplies are safe to drink. A large number of self-catering and tourist accommodation in the Highlands are served by private water supplies and with these being closed during the lockdown period, the water supply system may not have been maintained and could create a risk to the quality and safety of the drinking water.
Lesley, who previously worked for Hackney Local Authority in London, expressed how much she has enjoyed working for the Council. Lelsey started with highland council on 13 August 2019.
Following Scottish Government guidance on returning to construction sites across Scotland, works will be restarting on the EES:ABS scheme across the Highlands. In line with the guidance, contractors will be undertaking phased restarts and adhering to social distancing to allow workers to return to construction sites gradually while using measures such as hand hygiene.