Aberdeen City Council today launched several measures to support children and teenagers during coronavirus after the Scottish Government announcement to close schools to pupils from Monday.
The measures include schools being open on Monday for S4, S5, S6 pupils who require to attend sessions to complete senior phase course work for national qualifications, a virtual school helpline, emergency childcare provision for key workers, an online learning resource for pupils, parents/guardians and schools, digital provision for pupils with no access at home, free lunches, and Special School Provisions are to remain open.
Schools will be open on Monday for S4, S5, S6 pupils who require to attend sessions in order to complete senior phase course work for national qualifications. Young people have all received an individual timetable so that the school can effectively implement social distancing measured. For pupils who are currently self-isolating, individual arrangements have been made.
The virtual school helpline has been established to support children and families in need of assistance. The phoneline will be made available from 9am on Monday and the number is 01224 523322.
The emergency childcare provision is to provide care in schools across the city for 340 pupils whose parents or guardians are key workers. The schools will have a geographic spread around the city as well as being near Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. The provision for 340 pupils could be increased as the city council gets a sense of demand from key workers and how our funded providers can provide support.
The care will be for early years children up to S2 pupils, and their day will be planned by staff who will provide opportunities for pupils to engage with the digital resource when appropriate. More than 600 Aberdeen City Council teaching and support staff have offered to be involved in the development and delivery of emergency care provision with more offers anticipated.
The emergency childcare provision will be offered first to key workers within the category 1 definition by Scottish Government today. These are identified as:
- Health care workers directly supporting COVID response, and associated staff;
- Health and Care Workers supporting life threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision;
- Energy suppliers (small numbers identified as top priority already)
- Staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.
Key workers should apply for a place by completing a form at https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/people-and-communities/coronavirus-covid-19. ACC’s Integrated Children and Family Services will prioritise the applications and make contact with people following allocation of places and confirm offer and placement of provision. Those currently in category 2 can make an application, however, all children with parents of category 1 posts will be placed initially.
In addition, the online learning support will involve a digital learning hub with different portals for pupils, parents/guardians and teachers. These will enable all pupils to continue to access the curriculum, as well as support for parents/guardians and teachers. The digital learning hub is available at https://glo.li/accdigital, and additional resources will be added to it.
The digital provision for pupils with no broadband access at home will involve them getting a laptop to take home along with a dongle or wifi device, and schools are organising provision for affected pupils. This is being made possible thanks to generous support from BT.
Families eligible for free school meals will continue to access a service for their children. Parents or guardians will be contacted about this through the GroupCall text system already implemented in schools.
Orchard Brae Primary School, Bucksburn Wing, and Mile End ASN Provision will continue to deliver a service for children in order to support families of children with complex needs.