Learning during lockdown and digital inclusion progress in Highland
21st January 2021
The Council's ICT in Learning team have been working hard to continue to support our school communities as we deliver remote learning to all children and young people across Highland.
Chair of Education committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I want to thank all of our staff in Education who have worked incredibly hard to ensure that our school communities are receiving support and a quality education experience. This thank you extends to parents and carers who support our learners and also our central education officers for continuing to develop our online learning platforms, to our teaching staff who are delivering education remotely to all of our pupils, and to our staff involved in ensuring our settings remain as safe as possible for our children of key workers and vulnerable pupils who are accessing school settings.
"We are very proud of our online learning in Highland, which has also received recognition at national level, as this is something we have been developing since 2015. We are committed to furthering our ICT in Learning strategy and increasing digital inclusion in our local communities".
Support for pupils
We recently announced two significant partnerships to help support our children and young people. We have partnered with Text Help so that every pupil and teacher in our schools now has access to Read&Write software , a literacy tool which can be used on any device, funded through the Connecting Scotland grant.
We have also partnered with Tree of Knowledge to provide mental health and wellbeing support
This online learning platform addresses some of the challenges of the pandemic and develops positive mental health.
In addition to these resources, our dedicated team of central officers provide skills, tools resources and safeguarding and online safety resources on our digital platforms.
Support for parents
It is important that our parents and carers are also supported while pupils are learning remotely. Our parents and carers have access to recorded training and how to use Google for Education tools and resources. There are also upcoming parent engagement sessions to explain how to use Read&Write software, as well as question and answer sessions to support remote learning at home.
Our staff have developed a helpful parental guide to remote learning to provide additional advice.
We are also connecting Parent Councils across Highland with new Gmail addresses, using the G-Suite Tools from Google Enterprise.
Further support, skills, curriculum resources and updates can be found on our digital schools hub.
To help mitigate the persistent uncertainty and challenges arising from the pandemic, the Highland Council continues its humanitarian support, in partnership with the Community Food Initiative North East (CFINE), which operates FareShare Scotland in the north of Scotland. With funding from the Scottish Government and donations from supermarkets and food suppliers, FareShare, the Highland Council, local community groups and the Third Sector have adopted a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to food support for the wellbeing of households across the Highlands.
The Corporate Resources Committee of Highland council debated the latest account to December 2020 that show an underspend in staffing costs of £14,474. This saving has helped to create a surplus and stated in the report "at current projections for the year-end outturn position suggest a net year end budget surplus of £3.1m, a significant improvement from the £8.7m forecast overspend reported to this committee in November." Councillor Matthew Reiss appeared today to chair the meeting of the Corporate Resource committee following the resignation of councillor Alister Mackinnon.
School communities across Highland are being encouraged to remain vigilant on safety measures as a partial school return begins today. Chair of the Education Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I am delighted to see the return of some of our pupils to education settings across Highland today.
Members of the Caithness Committee have agreed to use Town Centre Funding to invest in the CCTV infrastructure for both Wick and Thurso. £16,100 will be used to digitalise the existing aging analogue public space CCTV system in Wick town centre and connection of the new system into the council's CCTV monitoring office with £25,625 to do the same for Thurso town centre.
This item was discussed at the meeting and is available on video below. Members of the Highland Council's Caithness Committee have had the opportunity to review and comment on the two updated Active Travel Masterplans for Wick and Thurso aimed at making it safer for people to walk and cycle in and around the towns.
Letters to parents, senior-phase pupils and supportive information to school staff will be issued this week to explain the phased return to schools for some pupils on 22 February, in line with today's announcements and new guidance issued by the Scottish Government. A large amount of work and progress has already been achieved to prepare our schools for the return of P1-P3 children and Senior Phase students who will return for essential practical activities for certification, and we will continue to provide in school remote provision for our key worker and most vulnerable learners.
Retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined today. It is one of a series of measures proposed by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending.
Housing Secretary extends support for renters during pandemic. Renters will continue to be supported during the ongoing national lockdown restrictions, with an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions.
The agenda was hanged to take the Caithness Horizons paper first. Read the Agenda Read the Supplementary Agenda Item 3: Minutes Report, 124.69 KB Item 5: Police - Area Performance Summary Report, 75.13 KB.
On Tuesday 16 February 2021 from 9:30 until 17:00, motorists are being advised by The Highland Council that two streets in Wick will be temporary closed to allow KIER to safely carry out Iron work repairs. U3529 Grant Street, Wick, will be closed from its junction with the U3560 Huddart Street to its junction with C1073 Macarthur Street U3560 Huddart Street, Wick, will closed from its junction with the U3654 Smith Terrace to its junction with U3569 Kinnaird Street.