Statement from North Lanarkshire Council on the reopening of schools in August 2020

Today’s announcement from the Scottish Government outlines the plan to reopen all schools on a full time basis from August.

We are currently considering the practicalities and implications of this announcement and will await further clarification and guidance from government, particularly in relation to public health and scientific advice.

Our priority is the safety of our pupils and staff across our network of primary, secondary and ASN schools, as well as our early learning and childcare settings.

We understand that you will have questions, and as this news was only announced today, we will make further information available on how this impacts on our schools and facilities in the coming days.

We are preparing for pupils to return full-time to school on 12 August and we will be working closely with our schools and partners, including our early years and childcare provision to establish our plans, which we will communicate as soon as we are in a position to.

 

Information Regarding Returning to School

Letter regarding School Uniform at Calderhead High School during the Recovery Phase

I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and well.

As you know North Lanarkshire Council have now started to share information regarding the plans to return to school in August. I am sure you can appreciate, there are a lot of decisions to be made to ensure all necessary health and safety requirements are met. This remains the key driver in all decisions.

Our staff have returned to school to prepare classrooms and the school environment for the new way of working. We are making sure all seats are 2m apart which will mean that pupils will need to be taught in smaller groups.

During the recovery period the priority is to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID 19. As a result of this Academy Uniform were unable to provide their usual in school expert Blazer fitting and ordering service. We have consulted a small group of pupils and the Parent Council and have concluded that the fairest approach is not to wear a Blazer in August. Once restrictions have been lifted we will hold Blazer fitting sessions as soon as practically possible. This should ensure that the Blazers will last each pupil a reasonable length of time.

To prevent viral transmission pupils are encouraged to wear fresh clothes each day. We are expecting them to wear a white school shirt, school tie tucked into a plain black v-neck jumper or cardigan, black school trousers/skirt and black shoes or plain black trainers. On the days that pupils have PE first thing in the morning they should wear their PE kit to school, including House T-shirt and then change into school uniform afterwards.

Our young people may have to spend more time in the playground, waiting to come into the building, during intervals or lunchtime, so should bring a waterproof jacket with them on rainy days. As soon as we come out of recovery we will immediately revert back to full uniform which will include a blazer. As you are all aware our standards of dress at Calderhead are high and we are keen to ensure we maintain these standards through this time.

Please be reassured staff at Calderhead are working very hard to make sure we have a safe environment for all staff and pupils in August. We appreciate this is an anxious time for parents but please trust that we are doing our very best to ensure we provide what is best for all in our school community.

We will issue further information as soon as we have more to share. Please keep an eye on our website/School App/Twitter for updates.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

John Robertson, Head Teacher

More information on returning to school is also available in the attached letter from Derek Brown,  Executive Director for Education and Families, and  Frequently Asked Questions for Parents from North Lanarkshire Council (click on images; document will open in new page).

Education FAQs
Education FAQs
letter
Letter from Derek Brown

Letter from From Derek Brown, Executive Director for Education and Families

Schools Update: 8 June 2020

Letter from Derek Brown, Executive Director for Education and Families:

Dear Parent/Carer,

I am pleased to have the opportunity to write to you to outline the progress we have made in planning for the return of children to school from August 11 onwards. It is anticipated that we will clarify arrangements in more detail in June, but what follows is an outline of our planning and a description of the steps we are taking to consult with various groups of stakeholders.

Planning Assumptions

In August, we have to plan, first and foremost, on the basis of safety. We need to ensure that your child and the staff in schools are as safe as possible and that the opportunity for viral transmission is reduced as far as possible.

In addition, due to government stipulations on physical distancing (2 metres squared, being used as a basic stipulation for schools, and anticipated guidance on smaller groupings in early years settings) it is likely that the capacity of settings to welcome children and young people will be between 40%-50% of current volumes.

We also have a reduction in staff capacity due to the continued need (under Scottish Government guidance) for staff who are part of the shielding programme to continue to work from home, as has been the case during the emergency lockdown period. It is difficult to quantify this absolutely at present, but the service is planning on the availability of 80-85% staff being able to attend work as a basic assumption.

Therefore, as Scottish Government advice makes clear, there will need to be models deployed in local authorities and in private settings which incorporate what the First Minister has called, ‘partial delivery’ and ‘blended learning.’

Opening Schools

It is likely that all young people, with the exception of the children of key workers and designated vulnerable groups will receive between 40%-50% of pre-lockdown education and childcare provision in the recovery period.

While this is enormously challenging for staff in schools and settings, as well as for the young people and those who care for them, it is an absolute requirement if Scotland is to recover its services fully in a way that prioritises health and safety and minimises viral transmission.

In schools, most pupils will experience a partial in-school timetable, equivalent to a minimum two days most weeks, supplemented by an enhanced online digital learning offering and the potential for wider community based support. In primary, the priority will be to take a family-centred approach, overseen by head teachers. In secondary, due to the need to align the senior phase with the offering of key partners, such as New College Lanarkshire, there will be a focus on key year groups attending on particular days.

Importantly, further consultation on how this will operate in practice will take place in June, and the precise detail will be clarified before the end of the school session, in plenty of time for August.

Early Years

In Early Years, the Scottish Government decision to pause the roll out of the 1140 Hours Expansion programme, due to the need to reduce staff:child ratios, means that it will be likely that most parents will receive 600 hours, which they are entitled to by statute.

This is based entirely on the prioritisation of critical child care for the children of key workers and vulnerable children as set out by the Scottish Government. Where local authorities make a critical childcare offer to key worker families and vulnerable families, this should be free at the point of access during the emergency response period.

To ensure settings are as safe as possible for children and staff, there is an expectation that all settings will put in place arrangements to accommodate physical distancing. This will also potentially reduce capacity within individual settings.

How this all works in the recovery period will depend on further advice and guidance from Scottish Government, due to be published on 15 June on arrangements for early years’ settings, including private funded providers. Following this, further dialogue will take place with partner providers regarding how they can adapt their settings to comply with guidance and draw down funding from the framework and further communication will take place with parents and carers.

Consultation and Communications

We hope to enlist the support of the members of our representative parent groups for the approach we are advocating, which is grounded in clear national guidance and the professional advice of our own central officer teams.

Any plans being brought forward are being done with reference to existing council policy and we will continue to communicate with you as things develop.

We understand you will have questions, many of which we are unable to answer at this point. We are working as hard as possible to manage all of the details and we will keep you updated by letter and at www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/schoolplans.

Yours sincerely,

Derek Brown,

Executive Director, Education and Families

Scholar

HW Scholar logoCalderhead High School is in the process of registering pupils’ individual Usernames and Passwords for the online tutorial service SCHOLAR. This is a fantastic resource which offers online courses  aligned to the SQA curriculum at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher level. The website is https://scholar.hw.ac.uk/

The subjects they support at National 5 are Biology, Chemistry, English, Maths, Physics, French, Spanish.   Each topic normally has an introduction, a core lesson and then an online test.

For pupils who do not have a SCHOLAR account, or have forgotten their log-in details, there is a generic username and password detailed in Teams that can be used in the meantime.

If pupils are studying these subjects at National 5 or any of the Higher or Advanced Higher Courses listed, then they can set time aside and begin to work through the topics. Once they have logged in, they may need to click on “Display other courses” to bring up the Higher and Advanced Higher Courses.

SQA Estimates for 2020

As Headteacher at Calderhead High School I understand the concern felt by everyone regarding the SQA estimates, which will be used by the SQA as a guide in determining the final awarded grade this session. Unfortunately, we are unable to discuss these estimates at this time. Please be assured that we will use all of the SQA guidelines to ensure that each pupil has the best opportunity of attaining the grade that they deserve. I hope you and your families are all safe and well and look forward to seeing you all again soon.

John Robertson
Headteacher

SQA National Courses – Delivering Results in 2020

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has announced details of the emergency arrangements it will put in place for students whose exams have been cancelled. Grades for qualifications including Highers and National 5s will be based on estimates by teachers.

The SQA has sent details of their plans to schools and teachers. Their focus is on three broad principles, while adapting to the current challenges we all face:

  • Fairness to all learners;
  • Safe and secure certification of the qualifications, while following the latest public health advice; and
  • Maintaining the integrity and credibility of the qualifications system, ensuring that standards are maintained over time, in the interests of learners.

For more information visit: https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/93920.html

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