Schools, early learning and children
Updated 25 June
Here is an update on the early learning and childcare 1140 hours expansion plans in the light of yesterday's Scottish Government announcement that childcare settings may reopen from 15 July (date subject to confirmation).
Free school meals over the summer
We will continue providing free school meals over the summer to our most vulnerable families. If you have been getting a packed lunch delivery, your school or nursery will contact you to arrange payments. If you currently receive BACS payments, this will continue and no action is required.
Payments will be made 4 weekly in advance, from Friday 26 June. This will continue until national guidance on schools reopening is confirmed. Please email any enquiries to [email protected].
Response to Depute First Minister's statement (23 June)
Depute First Minister John Swinney has made a statement in the Scottish Parliament about all children and young people returning to school on 12 August. He indicated that the Scottish Government’s planning assumption is now to have all pupils returning to schools 12 August, if it is safe to do so. He has also indicated that this will be conditional and dependent upon scientific and health advice. Clearly, our schools are delighted at the prospect of welcoming all of our pupils back to school in August with the knowledge that it is safe to do so.
Midlothian Council’s plans to deliver a blended learning model will remain as a contingency and essential preparation in case they are needed. We would like to assure you that all our schools have a robust blended learning plan ready, should it be needed.
We are now urgently considering the implications of this announcement on our plans for August. It is clear that final decisions on a full return will not be confirmed until during the summer holidays. We await further specific guidance and will be in touch with you again as soon as we can. We continue to assume that staff will return to school on the 10 August, and pupils will return on 12 August.
We appreciate that this is a fast changing situation and you will be keen to know what this means for your children. As this change has to be achieved safely, it inevitably remains conditional and dependent upon ongoing scientific and health advice, therefore we are committed to continuing to share information with you as soon as we can, including during the summer holidays.
Schools update (12 June)
Parents and carers have been sent a letter with updated information about returning to school.
Schools update (3 June)
Early learning and childcare 1140 hours update
We are committed to implementing the increase in funded early learning and childcare hours as soon as it is safe to do so. Coronavirus infection control measures have significantly reduced the number of children that settings can care for and, as a result, the Scottish Government has postponed the implementation date of the expansion in hours.
If these restrictions continue we will not have capacity to offer 1140 hours for all children from August. The Scottish Government and the Care Inspectorate will publish revised guidance in mid-June and we will review our plans at that time and maximise the number of funded hours we can offer, with priority given to those children most in need.
We will continue to work in partnership with our local authority settings, childminders and private and voluntary sector providers to develop a model of delivery that reflects the national guidance. If we are able to revise our plans, we will contact parents as soon as we are able to with details of the hours that they can receive.
Fill in our survey by 8 June
Are you the parent or carer of a child who you want to attend a Midlothian Council Early Learning and Childcare setting in the next academic year? Have you completed the survey which will help us allocate places in August?
Virtual tours (from 1 June)
Virtual tours of schools are now available. Open the map of Midlothian then select your high school catchment area to find your primary or secondary school tour.
Schools update (29 May)
A letter has been sent to all parents and carers around arrangements to reopen schools. There are also more details about transition arrangements for P1s and P7s.Schools update (21 May)
Plans are already well underway to re-open schools in Midlothian and today’s publication of the Scottish Government’s ‘Strategic Framework for Reopening Schools and ELC Settings in Scotland’ gives further clarity on progressing those, including arrangements for the return of specific groups of children in late June to support transition.
All ELC settings should continue to provide childcare for key worker families only until further notice.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced that schools will reopen on Tuesday 11 August, which is earlier than our planned date of 19 August.
We will be sharing an update on reopening and transition arrangements with staff, parents and carers as soon as we have them. A key priority is to ensure the safety of our children, young people and staff.
In the meantime, read more about the First Minister’s plans for schools on the BBC website.
We'd like to thank our carers who are providing stable homes for children and young people (14 May)
The Scottish Government's Parent Club website has lots of tips and advice to help families during the Coronavirus and in general.
Update for parents and carers 28 April
Update for parents and carers 27 April
We want to make sure children and young people either starting early learning, primary or secondary schools or leaving school have a positive experience when making that move (transition) during the epidemic.
Update for parents and carers 24 April
We have responded to the SQA (PDF) about determining exam results in 2020.
Update for parents and carers 17 April
Current position regarding schools
Schools are closed to most pupils.
Saltersgate School will be open to support our children with severe and complex needs. The head teacher contacted individual families about individual arrangements.
Vulnerable S4-S6 pupils
Only S4-S6 pupils who access Complex Needs Provision should attend. Please follow individual arrangements already in place with the school.
All other S4-S6 pupils must not go into school for any reason. This follows updated advice to local authorities issued Sunday 22 March by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister.
Exams and coursework
The SQA shared more details on Tuesday 24 March on the arrangements being put in place because of the cancellation of the examination programme.
For this year, schools and colleges are not required to submit learner coursework for marking in Higher and Advanced Higher courses. This also applies to National 5 qualifications where coursework was due to be uplifted in April and May.
Please don’t contact schools about this update on your child’s estimation of grades: the SQA will provide fuller details on their approach to certification. We will contact parents and pupils with more information about estimation of grades, when staff have taken the guidance being developed by the SQA into account.
We are following public health guidance on self-isolation for staff and pupils with underlying health conditions.
We are organising childcare for families of Lothians key worker groups based on the latest Scottish Government school closure guidance for key workers
Schools are acting as hubs to deliver this.
Please don't call - we'll be in touch
Please be patient and do not call us about places at our hubs. This will allow us to work through the requests received. The team will plan faster if you let them focus on this rather than taking your calls.
If you do have a query please email:
Updated government guidance
Scottish Government advice now says:
- If one parent is a key worker and the other is not, the non-key worker should provide childcare. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
The fewer children travelling to school and the fewer children in schools, the lower the risk that the virus can spread to vulnerable people in the community.
Our hubs will care for a limited number of children:
- who are vulnerable
- whose parents are critical to the pandemic response and cannot be cared for at home.
Some of our early learning partner providers are open to support:
- category 1 critical care workers
- care workers
- households where both adults are key workers
- single parent key workers.
Contact the partner providers directly. Send details of your names, jobs, names and ages of your children, and if they currently attend an ELC along with contact details. The provider will be in touch as soon as they can.
Hawthorn Family Learning Centre
Hawthorn Family Learning Centre remains open to support our most vulnerable families. This support is prearranged and by appointment. Please do not attend the centre unannounced. If you and your family are needing support please contact Children’s Services on 0131 271 3413.
The centre works with pre-5 children in partnership their parents/carers. The centre also works with children with disability or affected by disability.
Free school meals
Midlothian Council has now set up a BACS payment for all Secondary pupils S1-S6 entitled to free school meals. Households with Secondary age children and younger siblings will receive payments for all children. However families with children only in Primary schools will not receive the payment but will continue to receive food.
This will be processed as a 4 week period direct to families. The first run will be from Monday 6 April to Friday 1 May, then processed in subsequent 4-week periods. The first payment will be in parents' accounts on 9 April 2020.
If you have not received your payment, contact your school and they will be able to help. However, during the Easter break, any family having trouble accessing their funds, leaving the house, or who has received a shielding letter should contact Heather Ritchie.
- Email: [email protected]
- Deputy First Minister’s announcement
- Guidance for parents and carers on helping children to cope with the crisis
Although our buildings have limited access, our Children's Services, including help and support for foster carers, continues.