Date of return for pupils
All schools in East Ayrshire undertook a 'soft start' return from Wednesday 12 to Friday 14 August, with all pupils attending full-time by Monday 17 August.
Parents and carers should download the relevant school/early childhood centre (ECC) app(s) to keep up-to-date with information from your child’s school/ECC. We will also communicate via East Ayrshire Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Early learning and childcare (ELC)
Read about our preparations for re-opening our ECCs and ELC services.
Each Early Childhood Centre (ECC) will work towards the delivery of 600 hours of early learning and childcare, taking account of the refreshed ELC guidance and public health measures published on 30 July 2020.
ECCs that delivered 1140 hours prior to lockdown will begin to reintroduce the delivery of 1140 hours a phased basis. The increased hours will also be introduced in the new build Nether Robertland Early Childhood Centre and the new build Netherthird Early Childhood Centre on the same basis.
Further information for each ECC is now available (PDF 110Kb)
Transport and arrival of pupils
School transport is running as normal and pupils should access their assigned transport as normal. Where pupils are dropped off at school by car, we respectfully ask that this is not directly at school gates to prevent entry areas becoming overcrowded. Young people with additional support needs can be dropped off in school proximity.
From Monday 31 August, young people aged five years and over are required to wear a face covering on all school transport. Pupils must also use hand sanitiser when they board the bus (for public and school transport) and staff working as escorts in taxis will be wearing face masks. Individual schools will provide further information on pick-up and drop-off areas at the start and end of the day.
Parents will not be able to enter the school building, in accordance with government guidelines, but in the event of an emergency, specific arrangements will be made with parents to allow safe collection of their child.
Our catering staff have been working throughout the pandemic to provide meals to families and have adapted to the new way of working to regards to social distancing, food preparation and safety following government and Food Standards Scotland guidance throughout.
Facilities and Property Management have been working with our Education Service to provide lunches now that schools have returned. We have now developed a pre-order portal for secondary school pupils and a Microsoft Teams pre-order system for primary school pupils.
Physical distancing will be in place within the school kitchen where possible. Risk assessments have been completed by our Health and Safety teams and enhanced cleaning is in place, these include:
- Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures
- food safety legislation
- personal hygiene.
The systems we have put in place will reduce queuing times, give our pupils the lunch they have ordered and bring another level of safety into what is already in place. Putting these measures in place means we are able to keep most of our usual menus, and still provide a choice of hot and cold options.
The pre-order options will be a set meal deal. You can find details of this menu on our school meals page.
To start with primary school meals will be pre-ordered and delivered to the classroom. These arrangements will be reviewed in line with government guidelines by the Head of Education. They will be relaxed to provide normal service once restrictions are lifted
Find out more on our school meals frequently asked questions page.
Pre-ordering school meals
From Wednesday 12 August 2020, our Catering Service will be introduce pre-ordering for school meals. We have now emailed access codes to pupils' glow accounts and these can be activated straight away. Orders for meals will be accepted from 3 pm on 11 August.
- Primary schools - pupils will be able to pre-order their school meal every morning with their class teacher. The orders will be sent to the catering manager. If your primary school already uses the ParentPay Parent Booking service, you can continue to order meals as before.
- Secondary schools - pupils and staff will order school meals via our Pre-order Portal from their own devices. This can be done either within the school or externally, for example, at home, or anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection.
The Pre-order Portal will provide remote access for pupils and staff to pre-order school meals without having to queue at the servery. Activation codes for the pre-order portal have been emailed to pupils' Glow accounts. Those entering S1 will be able to sign up on the first day of school.
This will enhance the service within secondary schools by removing the need to use pre-order kiosks and biometrics, giving pupils with a safer and faster way to order their school meal.
Find out how to pre-order school meals on our school meals pre-order portal page.
Wellbeing and learning
Pupil wellbeing will always be our prime concern and we invite you to access our pupil wellbeing framework (PDF 1.03Mb).
Our teams have restarted learning at all levels, but there are some activities, such as choirs and assemblies which cannot run at the moment.
We have also had to make some changes to PE and practical lessons to keep everyone safe.
Music tuition will also be delivered differently and we have now contacted parents/carers to explain these changes where appropriate.
How can you help
Throughout the summer we have worked alongside Parent Councils, Headteachers, East Ayrshire Council Health and Safety and East Ayrshire Council Facilities and Property Management to ensure a safe return of our pupils. We have carried out and completed risk assessments for every establishment.
However, we need the support and co-operation parents and carers with a number of ongoing practical measures to ensure that our young people return to school safely.
All young people will be asked to wash or sanitise their hands when they arrive at school and this will be encouraged throughout the day, especially after lunchtime.
Where possible we ask that all young people bring clean tissues to school. They may also bring their own personal sanitiser if parents wish. School clothes should be washed as per normal routine and we ask that pupils only bring essential personal items to school.
School cleaning routines
All schools and ECCs received a full clean prior to the children returning in August.
Since May we've been giving all educational establishments and Council premises have received an enhanced clean (Level 3) on a daily basis. This is a level of clean specifically designed to provide, not only a high level of cleaning, but a special focus on ‘touch points’ throughout the building.
The main bulk of the cleaning will be delivered before and after the school day, however this will be supported with regular ‘check cleaning’ and ‘touch point’ cleaning throughout the school day.
The use of Innu science products for cleaning across our schools allows us to provide cutting edge, long lasting and effective cleaning. These products minimise the risk of infection by leaving a protective layer on all surfaces. Along with traditional methods of cleaning these products are used in conjunction with Electrostatic spray guns to ‘mist clean’ in public areas as required.
All Council buildings also undergo regular and rigorous quality assurance inspections to make sure standards are maintained.
Physical distancing - pupils
There is currently no requirement for physical distancing in primary or secondary settings. However we wish to encourage and facilitate this in all settings, particularly with our older secondary pupils.
We have issued guidance to all of our staff to limit movement of pupils around schools unnecessarily and will encourage pupils to remain in groupings wherever possible. A list of supporting actions has been issued to Headteachers to keep our young people and staff as safe as possible, and signage and communications with our young people will reflect this.
Physical distancing - staff
Staff will have to stay a two metres away from pupils wherever possible, in keeping with physical distancing guidance for adults. We recognise that this will not be possible in all sectors and in such instances, some of our staff will need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We appreciate that this may be difficult for some of our pupils, but we are already taking the most supportive measures to manage these situations.
Assemblies and large gatherings
Assemblies and other large gatherings such as school shows and Parents Evenings will not take place during the first term, subject to continued review and scientific advice.
A national COVID-19 surveillance system for staff and senior pupils has been set up, offering voluntary testing. We have been working with our local Public Health Teams to plan for any scenarios that may arise in our schools or Early Childhood Centres (ECC). We ask that parents and carers support us in the following ways in this regard:
- Please do not send your child to school or ECC if they, or any of your household, have symptoms of COVID-19
- Please arrange to pick your child up from school immediately if you are contacted to advise that they are symptomatic, and follow subsequent medical advice. Guidance dictates that schools must make sure that any child who is symptomatic is taken home.
Please know that we have contingency plans ready, should there be any change to this plan for return, either through any changes to physical distancing, or local or national lockdown. Clearly, we do not wish to use these plans unless necessary, but we hope that parents and carers will be reassured to know that these plans are in place.
Scottish Qualifications Agency
As yet there are no confirmed details for the Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA) exam arrangements for 2021. However, we continue to canvass on your behalf for clarity for our learners and staff, particularly given that these courses have started. We will provide further information on this as soon as we have it.