Members agree to distribution of funding for counselling, additional teacher resource and digital inclusion in Highland schools
1st October 2020
At yesterday's (30 September2020) meeting of the Council's Education Committee, Members agreed on the approach to the distribution of Counselling funding, and on the approach to use additional funding to support Education Recovery through additional teaching resource and digital inclusion for the financial year 2020/2021.
Chair of the Education Committee, Councillor John Finlayson, said: "It is great that Members have agreed our approach to utilise the monies we have received from funding streams to support our young people and our education recovery. These funds will make a big difference to how we are able to support resilience and attainment in our schools and to the learning experience of our young people across the region. We will continue to have discussions with our schools and Head Teachers about how this money is spent to ensure maximum benefit".
It is confirmed that The Highland Council is to receive £1,022,000 in the financial year 2020/2021 from the ‘Access to Counsellors through Schools' Project’. This is to be used to increase the number of counsellors in schools.
Included in our next steps is local and regular meetings involving a range of staff to consider needs and response focused on individual young people and a targeted case approach, as well as regular support, in each school for ongoing individual support.
Additional teaching resource
The Scottish Government has provided additional funding of £2,200,000 to The Highland Council to support Education Recovery; this funding is to be wholly spent on additional teacher resource in Highland schools.
Highland schools will use this additional, creative teaching resources over the next year to compensate for any loss of learning suffered during lockdown, as well as to bring much needed resilience to the education system at this challenging time.
The Highland Council was awarded £1,188,489 capital and £204,520 revenue funding through the ‘Connecting Scotland Education Programme’ to address digital inclusion for disadvantaged children and young people in Highland Schools.
This grant has enabled us to further expand The Highland Council’s Chromebook estate, invest in an improved management of the Chromebook service and platform and expand connectivity for families with MIFI devices.
Executive Chief Officer for Education and Learning, Nicky Grant, said: "The funding we have received for counselling, the recruitment of teachers, and digital inclusion will help to work to support the recovery of education and the wellbeing of our young people in Highland. Wellbeing and inclusion will remain a priority for us as we navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall in these papers, the funding streams and the approach to their distribution recognise the need for local decision making assessment of need, resilience and response."
At the Caithness Area Committee on 22 October 2020 members unanimously confirmed their full support to the business case for Wick John O'Groats Airport to receive Public Service Obligation (PSO) status by putting forward a motion and reinforcing their commitment to working with stakeholders and partners to deliver this as a matter of urgency. The motion lodged recognises the fundamental strategic importance of Wick John O’Groats Airport to the economy of the region, and the energy, business and tourism sectors in particular.
Members of the Caithness Committee have identified fuel poverty as their number one concern and are pleased to announce that the member-led capital housing budget has increased to 10% as they welcome £2,253,000 of investment which will be used to carry out improvements to the housing stock across the county. A specific priority of the capital programme is improving heating and make homes more energy efficient, with over £1,300,000 of budget approved to replace the oldest and most inefficient heating systems with a further £150,000 for one-off heating replacements.
Highland Council Trading Standards supports FASathon - the Friends Against Scams marathon day Highland Council Trading Standards is encouraging Highland residents to take part in ‘FASathon', the Friends Against Scams marathon day, on 21st October 2020. The aim of the FASathon campaign is to get as many people as possible to complete the free Friends Against Scams online awareness session to learn about the different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others against scams.
By intervening, Local Government has reduced the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for the most vulnerable in our communities, COSLA said today (Wednesday). COSLA also said that is why their Blueprint outlines the lead role of Local Government in securing a fair and inclusive recovery with a strong focus on human rights, tackling poverty and addressing inequalities.
In advance of the 2021 tourism season, Members of The Highland Council's Tourism Committee have agreed that the local authority will continue to work and engage with partners, national agencies and local communities to meet the challenges and opportunities that exist in the region for motorhomes and wild camping tourism. Councillor Maxine Smith, Tourism Committee Chair said: "While coronavirus and the increased demand for staycations in the UK have played a large part in the massive increase in demands placed on the Highlands of Scotland from across the UK, the evidence does show that motorhome ownership and hire has been increasing over recent years.
The Highland Council has published new information on the Coronavirus Covid-19 button on the front page of its website on how people can access the new Covid-19 Self-Isolation Support Grant. https://www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus Funded by the Scottish Government, the new grant is available for individuals who are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Protect Service, in receipt of low-income benefits and who will lose income as they are unable to work from home.
Highland Council is currently looking at options to secure the future of the lifeline ferry service at Corran Ferry, Lochaber. The local authority is responsible for operating the Corran Ferry service, which is the busiest single vessel route in Scotland.
The Highland Council would like to thank householders who have purchased a Garden Waste Collection Service permit for 2020/21. The current permit started on the 1st of September and will run until the 31st of August 2021, with collections continuing until the end of November.
The Highland Council is reminding the public that although their offices and buildings remain closed to the public a full range of support and information is still available. Access into all service point buildings continues to be currently restricted for people to complete birth registrations and other high priority registrations by appointment only, and following all current social distancing and hygiene guidance.
Additional spending powers and funding for councils. A package of financial flexibilities and extra funding for councils which could be worth up to £750 million has been agreed by the Scottish Government in partnership with COSLA.