Schools and Early Years Centres
Early Learning and Childcare 1140 Hours Expansion
As result of COVID-19, the Scottish Government has paused their early years expansion programme. This means that there is no longer a requirement for councils to deliver 1140 hours of early learning and childcare (ELC) from August 2020. This was in part to support the local authority response to the practical and financial challenges of managing the impact of the pandemic and the delays to construction work.
The Scottish government guidelines on re opening early years centres incudes physical distancing and public health measures. This means that fewer children may be able to attend when centres re-open in August.
We understand that this will be disappointing news for families who had hoped to benefit from the increased hours from August. Our contingency arrangement is that all eligible children will be able to access the equivalent of 600 hours of early years and childcare provision when centres re-open. This is the statutory entitlement. In some centres we may be able to increase these hours which will mean that these children will get more than the statutory entitlement. This contingency arrangement will be reviewed and updated at the end of July. For all children and families we remain committed to working to deliver more hours in line with national guidance and when it is possible to do so.
Please be assured that the safety of children, staff and parents is our priority.
Your child's early years centre will be in contact with information on the hours your child will be offered.
Childcare provision for critical key workers
Critical childcare service for key workers is limited to children where all adults in the house are key workers. This includes:
- NHS: all staff including primary care; pharmacy and dentistry;
- Health and social care staff providing a direct service;
- Key emergency services staff, including those at Glasgow Prestwick Airport;
- Key staff working at National Air Traffic Service, Prestwick (NATS);
- Staff who work in prisons;
- South Ayrshire Council staff designated as critical service providers;
- Education/ care staff providing child care for other key workers.
We are asking that you keep the use of this service to an absolute minimum, in line with the advice to reduce social contact and minimise the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). While we appreciate the challenges faced by families, this service is not available for parents who are working from home, or where any member of the household is displaying symptoms. Please follow public health advice advice and act responsibly.
For any enquiries please email ChildcareHubs@south-ayrshire.gov.uk and leave your name, number and email address and someone will be in touch .
The definition of key workers may change as the spread of the virus progresses.
The situation is changing on a daily basis, and we will respond to changing circumstances.
Free School Meals for Eligible Children
While schools are closed, all pupils entitled to free school meals will continue to have access to food.
Daily deliveries of lunch bags have been replaced by a food box, which will be delivered on a weekly basis.
Boxes will be delivered on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The day on which you receive your box will be the day of your delivery in future.
The food box will contain a range of items, which you can use to make lunch for your child for a week. The contents of a box may vary from week to week depending on availability of stock, but will usually contain bread, milk, cereal, fresh fruit and ingredients to make soup.
If you need to get in touch regarding free school meals, please contact your child's school by phone or email in the first instance.
If you do not get a response and your need is urgent, please contact us at:
Telephone: 01292 616101
If you no longer wish to receive a food box for your child, please let us know.
We have been informed that some residents in South Ayrshire have received a text message asking them to pay for food boxes which are delivered to families with children eligible for free school meals.
This message is not from South Ayrshire Council or the Scottish Government.
We ask that you do not click on any links and delete the message.
Please report any scams to our Trading Standards and Environmental Health team on 0300 123 0900.
You will know by now that the 2020 exam diet has been cancelled. Inevitably, this means there will be some uncertainty for our young people who were preparing for exams.
Teachers, who know your children best as learners, will be doing everything possible to ensure they get their best possible qualification.
Part of the normal preparation for completing a course includes completing coursework, assignments and folios. Teachers will collate all the necessary evidence to support their professional judgement.
There is no need for your child to be in school to complete work. Teachers have worked with the majority of our pupils over a number of years and have a range of evidence to draw on and make a professional judgement. Everything they need is available to them in school at this stage.
Certification will be based on predicted attainment, coursework and assessment throughout the year. Certification will NOT be based solely on prelim performance.
Please do not to contact schools for information, as professional judgement and estimates are not yet complete. Equally, there is no process for appealing the professional judgement on estimates, but the SQA have indicated that their post-results service will be free of charge this year.
Are private-run nurseries closing?
Parents should contact their private-run nursery for more information.
Can I still send my child to a childminder?
As long as your child, and everyone living at home does not have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), and your childminder does not have these symptoms, then yes.
Please follow government and health advice as this may change over time.
Should my parents look after my children?
It depends on their age and their health. Anyone over 70 years old, pregnant women, or anyone under 70 with an underlying health condition, i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds, should reduce social contact and stay at home for 12 weeks.
If your parent falls under the above at risk categories, you should follow the advice given by the government and NHS.
Education maintenance allowance
Education Maintenance allowance (EMA) payments will continue for young people. Our staff are working at home and will ensure this continues.
Will I have to teach my child at home?
Parents and carers will support their child's learning.
Each school is making arrangements for online and paper-based learning, so children and young people can continue with their education during this period of School and Early Years Centres closures. Your school will inform you of their specific arrangements.
Parents will be kept informed through their school, and your school will advise you how they will keep in touch with you in due course.
Parent/Carer Survey-Recovery of schools and Early Years Centres August 2020
At the end of May/beginning of June we sought the views of our parents and carers to support our planning for recovery. At this stage the recovery models were based on a 'blended learning' approach between school and home with the results of the survey helping support preparations for a return to learning for children and young people in August. Following the Depute First Minister announcement on the 18th June the plan is for all children to return to school full time from the 12th August 2020.
How will my child receive coursework?
Each school is making arrangements for online and paper-based learning, so children and young people can continue with their education during this period of school and nursery closures. Your school will inform you of their specific arrangements.
I don't have internet access or Wi-Fi. How can my child receive course work?
Alternative provisions will be put in place to ensure children and young people who don't have internet access or wi-fi will still receive course work. This is likely to be through printed materials, such as worksheets, taken home by children and young people or delivered to their home.
What if you or your child has health issues or needs additional support?
We are working through the emerging guidance on supporting families who need it most. Please be assured that we will update you on what support is available as quickly as we can.
In the interim, if you face a situation where you become unwell and do not have alternative childcare arrangements, please speak with your school directly for advice and guidance.
What should I do if I or someone in my family contracts coronavirus (COVID-19)?
If you have symptoms consistent with coronavirus (COVID-19), namely a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature, however mild, stay at home for 7 days from the day your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS24 or your GP unless your symptoms do not get better, or your health condition changes significantly.
If you live with others, all other members of the household should stay at home for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day illness began in the first person. Detailed stay at home advice can be found at NHS Inform.
To reduce the spread of illness, follow the 'Catch it, Bin it, Kill it' advice, as well as washing your hands often with soap and water regularly, or use an alcohol based hand rub.