Wellbeing of pupils to be prioritised
6th June 2020
Guidance for education authorities and teachers published for next academic year.
New guidance will help teachers and councils prepare for the ‘blended model' of both classroom and home learning when schools re-open in August.
The guidance, produced by the Education Recovery Group, also details broad expectations for what Scotland's curriculum will look like during this period in Early Learning Centres and schools, including through Gaelic Medium Education.
The guidance includes:
a focus on prioritising the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of children and young people, practitioners and families
using the Refreshed Narrative for Curriculum for Excellence as a practical tool for practitioners.
continuing engagement with children and their families to support them in this new way of learning
considering the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), especially in vulnerable children and young people and those with additional support needs
Guidance on the curriculum, aimed at parents and carers, will be published shortly in partnership with the National Parent Forum of Scotland
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
"Since most schools closed in March, a huge amount of positive work has been undertaken by education professionals to support continuity of learning. This advice recognises that schools, classrooms and ways of learning will be completely different in the recovery phase, so the education system as well as young people and their families will need help and support to adapt.
"The core principles of Curriculum for Excellence that give teachers flexibility and put learners at the heart of education will remain critical during the recovery phase. This guidance states that teachers should be confident in prioritising their pupils' physical and mental wellbeing - over anything else - as the best way of supporting children and young people back into learning.
"The curriculum will continue to be developed locally by Early Learning Centres, primary and secondary schools, and partnership colleges, taking account of the local circumstances of children and their families.
"Specific guidance is also available for education authorities and schools to support young people who have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with additional support needs or those who may struggle to transition smoothly into the next academic year."
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Curriculum for Excellence in the Recovery Phase
Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for continuity in learning
Teachers and other school staff are preparing for a new model of learning from 11 August. Education authorities and schools should draw on this national guidance to work in partnership with trades unions, staff, parents and children to develop local plans.
These plans are contingent on scientific and medical advice that it is safe to proceed and public health measures being in place.
The Education Recovery Group includes representatives from local authorities, teachers' organisations and trades unions.
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.