Since the national closure of all schools and nurseries on 20 March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stirling Council has adjusted quickly to deliver our education services in a more flexible way.

We ensured continuity of learning through a blended approach of digital tools and paper resources, and also put measures in place to continue supporting vulnerable children and young people.

On Tuesday 23 June 2020, the Deputy First Minister announced to the Scottish Parliament that the Scottish Government was aiming for the full return of children and young people to schools in August, subject to ongoing COVID-19 scientific and health advice.

On 30 July, in a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the COVID-19 route map, the First Minister confirmed that the latest scientific advice and evidence supported the safe return of pupils to school.

Although children and young people have now returned to school and nursery, this remains a fast-moving and complex situation and we will continue to be guided by national guidance and be prepared for all eventualities. 

We know you will have lots of questions about how all these arrangements will be put into practice. Individual schools and nurseries will continue to provide you with more specific details, however we have pulled together key information and resources below.

Read our news story confirming the reopening of schools on 31 July 2020.

Read our letter sent to parents and carers on 24 June 2020. 

Read our letter sent to parents and carers on 9 June 2020. 

While we are now working towards a return to full-time schooling, we have also put in place, as required by the Scottish Government, contingency plans for a blended learning model, with pupils attending school and nursery on some days and learning at home on others.

We hope these plans do not need to be put into practice, but it is important you are aware of these arrangements and know we are prepared for all eventualities in these uncertain times. Individual schools and nurseries will continue to provide you with specific details on these plans.

Schools reopened for pupils on Wednesday, August 12, with the preceding two days (August 10 and 11) allocated to staff development days for staff.

For more information, please read our news story that was published on 31 July.

Stirling Council implemented new Scottish Government guidance on the use of face coverings by pupils and staff in schools and on school transport on Monday, 31 August.

The updated guidance is based on new scientific and public health advice and states that face coverings should now be worn:

  • In secondary schools by pupils and adults when moving around the school, such as in corridors and communal areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain
  • On dedicated school transport for all children aged five and over, consistent with the current requirements applicable on public transport.

As per the existing guidance for schools, pupils and staff can continue to wear face coverings if they wish to, though these will generally not be required in the classroom given the greater scope of physical distancing and the impact coverings can have on learning and teaching.

Some children, young people and staff will be exempt from wearing a face covering for a number of reasons, including medical conditions, and we ask that everyone treats each other with kindness and respect on this issue.

Please see our news story for more details. 
 

Your child should not attend school if either they or anyone else in the household has symptoms of COVID-19. For more information and health advice, please visit the NHS Inform website.

Please read this letter to all parents and carers from National Clinical Director, Jason Leitch, relating to Common Cold and COVID-19 symptoms. 

 

On 31 August, Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, issued a letter to parents and carers relating to Common Cold and COVID-19 Symptoms.

You can download the letter by clicking here.

Please see a letter that was shared by individual schools and nurseries with parents and carers on the process for dealing with potential COVID-19 cases. 

As pupils and staff are returning to school a week early after the summer break, an additional week’s holiday will be included at the end of Autumn term (12-23 October).

To view school holiday dates for 2020-2021, please head here.

Stirling Council’s priority continues to be that our young people’s hard work and dedication is fairly recognised, and we will work with our schools and the SQA to ensure that this is the case.

Information on support for young people on Results Day 2020 (4 August), including helpline numbers, is available at the SQA website.

For our new story on this year's results, which includes support and helpline numbers, please click here

Please see below for recent key statements and updates from the SQA on the 2019/2020 academic year:

On 19 June, the SQA published a statement and guidance relating to the appeals process for this year's national qualifications: 

On 3 June, the SQA provided a new update on the alternative certification model for this year's national qualifications:

We will continue to be guided by the Scottish Government and the SQA for the 2020/2021 national qualifications.

Individual schools will have their own arrangements to ensure children and young people are ready to settle into their new surroundings, they will share this information with you before the start of term.

Stirling Council will aspire to provide a Chromebook for all secondary school pupils and pupils in upper primary school by the autumn term.

The local authority has invested in the state-of-the-art devices to equip Stirling’s young people with the skills to thrive in an increasingly digital workplace and society and as part of its commitment to equal opportunities.

It also ensures the Council will be prepared to action contingency plans for a blended learning model, with pupils attending school on some days and learning at home on others, should this be required by the Scottish Government (the current guidance is for schools to return full-time in August). 

Please see our news story for more information. 

The Scottish Government’s latest guidance on out of school care can be viewed here.

We continued to deliver free school meals to eligible families over the six weeks of the summer break. A week’s worth of groceries to produce packed lunches, along with recipe ideas, was delivered every Monday from 29 June.

For more information, please see our news story.

See below for a Q&A on dedicated school transport following the return of pupils to school on 12 August. This also includes guidance on the wearing of face coverings.  

Q. I would rather take my child to School during COVID 19, can I do this?

A. Yes, you do not need to take up the offer of transport. To ease congestion in and around schools children and their parents/carers are encouraged to travel to school on foot, bike or scooter if possible.

Q. Can my child travel on other dedicated school transport?

A. No. Pupils must only travel on the transport that has been allocated to them to avoid any capacity issues.

Q. Will there be social distancing on school transport?

A. Dedicated school transport should be regarded as an extension of the school estate and physical distancing measures between pupils are not required irrespective of age subject to mitigations in place. This also includes when travelling on the 507, X10 and X10a to Balfron High School within the dedicated areas.

When travelling by public transport 1m physical distancing must be adhered to.

Q. What is meant by mitigations?

A. Important mitigations include: hygiene, ventilation, enhanced cleaning regimes including regular and thorough cleaning of surfaces, and regular handwashing (see below).

Q. What mitigations are in place on my child’s transport?

A.

  • Vulnerable passengers or those self-isolating due to contact with someone with symptoms should not to travel.
  • Parents should ensure their children’s hands are washed using soap or hand sanitiser prior to boarding school transport.
  • Enhanced cleaning of vehicles.
  • All children and young people irrespective of age should wear face coverings on all school transport including public transport.
  • On the 507, X10 & X10a services specific areas will be designated for pupils, however as these are registered services members of the public are able to travel.
  • Vehicle will travel with windows open where possible or air conditioning switched on to assist with ventilation.
  • Passengers asked to remain seated and not swap seats.
  • The consumption and sharing of food and drink is not allowed
  • Children and young people should be encouraged to carry tissues on home to school transport
  • Passengers should travel with their bags on their knees

Q. Do I need to reserve a seat on school transport?

A. If your child is entitled to free home to school transport, there is no requirement to reserve a seat as they will be allocated transport in accordance with Education’s Home to School Transport policy.

Q. My child is showing symptoms, can they travel?

A. Children, young people and adults must not board dedicated school or public transport if they, or a member of their household, have symptoms of COVID-19. If a child or young person develops symptoms while at school they will be sent home. They must not travel on regular home-to-school transport. The school will contact the parent/carer who should make appropriate and safe arrangements to collect the child or young person. In this situation, the wearing of a face covering by the child or young person on the journey home is strongly advised.

Q. What enhanced cleaning measures will be put in place?

A. Frequent thorough cleaning will be carried out paying particular attention to all hand contact surfaces areas such as doors, handrails, seatbelts etc.

Q. Does my child need to wear a face covering?

A. Effective from 31 August, face coverings should be worn by all pupils travelling on all school transport (subject to exemptions), Please note that any face coverings left on the transport will be disposed of by the operator and not be retained as lost property.

Q. Do drivers and adults travelling on dedicated school transport need to wear a face covering?

A. Drivers operating on passenger transport services are not required to wear a face covering where there is a partition between the person/employee and members of the public. Where there is no partition there will be seats marked as unavailable for use directly behind the driver to maintain physical distancing. Drivers of taxis and minibuses will be required to wear face coverings.

Any adults travelling by dedicated school transport should conform with the requirements for public transport (1 metre distancing with the wearing of face coverings).

We recognise that the circumstances of many children with Additional Support Needs require adult carers to travel with the children, often in close proximity. In general, it is advised that these adults should be very alert to symptoms, and should wear face coverings as a general rule. However, this should be balanced with the wellbeing and needs of the child, recognising that face coverings may limit communication and could cause distress to some children. Any face coverings or PPE will be covered in individual pupil risk assessments.

Q. Will my bus be at a different time?

A. In most cases transport will be at the usual times, please regularly check the council website for further information and any updates. Timetables for the large bus journeys can be found here: https://www.stirling.gov.uk/learning-education/schools/school-travel-trips/secondary-school-bus-timetables/

Q. My child travels on a taxi – what mitigations are in place?

A. As with dedicated school bus and coach services, physical distancing requirements are not necessary. Face coverings must be worn and it is recommended that in private hire vehicles (which are typically saloon cars) children and young people travel on the back seat. If a child is travelling alone, it is recommended that they sit in the back-left hand seat of the car.

Q. What additional measures will be in place for ASN Transport?

A. As a general rule transport arrangements are the same as mainstream, however individual assessments may be required to be carried out on a child-to-child basis.

Q. My Child needs an escort what additional measures will be in place?

A. Escorts will have to sit 1m away from driver and pupils were possible (individual seating layouts may need to be reviewed), wearing of face coverings and gloves are mandatory for escorts.

 

General school transport Q&A’s

Q. I’ve applied for a privilege pass space – when will I hear about a space?

A. Please note that there are currently no Privilege Pass spaces available for St Modan’s High School for 2020/21, as all of the Stirling Council vehicles serving St Modan’s High School routes are full. If this situation changes during the course of the academic year, parents will be informed.

Privilege Pass applications for all other routes will be assessed against available spaces in the next few weeks and we aim to inform parents of whether or not a space has been granted.

Q. Where do I find the timetable for the school bus?

A. They can be found by checking: https://www.stirling.gov.uk/learning-education/schools/school-travel-trips/secondary-school-bus-timetables/

For routes which are not listed, such as small bus and taxi journeys, please call the operator directly.

Q. I’ve moved address in the last school year and not heard about transport, what do I do?

A. Please complete a school transport application form using the link below and we will evaluate the request.

https://www.stirling.gov.uk/learning-education/schools/school-travel-trips/school-transport/

Q. I’ve moved address in the last school year no longer need transport, what do I do?

A. Please e-mail transportcoordination@stirling.gov.uk advising the pupil name and school they attend.

Q. Have bus passes been sent out?

A. Bus passes for those routes which require a pass have been sent by the Transport Co-ordination team. First are processing their passes shortly and will send directly to parents of pupils on those services.

The re-opening of schools and other settings will be subject to scientific advice at the time that it is safe to do so. Stirling Council will continue to comply with Scottish Government guidance on the reopening of schools and other settings.

Risk assessments are in place as part of the work to prepare for a return to school. These include plans for cleaning, hand washing and physical distancing for example. These risk assessments will be updated in line with the scientific advice at the time and Stirling Council will continue to comply with Scottish Government guidance.

The Scottish Government issued new advice on shielding children on 2 July. A review by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health stated that the majority of children with conditions including asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and kidney disease do not need to continue to shield and can return to school when it reopens.

For more info on the advice, head here. 

Stirling Council recognises the value of a school dress code in enhancing the ethos and sense of belonging in a school, along with promoting safety and well-being.

Schools set their uniform policy in consultation with pupils, parents and staff. At this time, some schools may make minor adaptions to their school dress code. Individual schools will provide further information on this.

Application forms for Footwear and Clothing Grants for school session 2020/2021 are now available on the Stirling Council website:
https://www.stirling.gov.uk/learning-education/schools/school-meals-uniforms/footwear-clothing-grant-school-meals/

Application forms for the Education Maintenance Allowance are also now available:
https://www.stirling.gov.uk/learning-education/schools/school-meals-uniforms/education-maintenance-allowance-ema/

Stirling Council can confirm it will offer 1140 hours of free early learning and childcare per year for eligible children from August, subject to COVID-19 scientific and health advice.

The provision will be available across all local authority nurseries, private and voluntary partner settings and partner childminders.

Letters and guidance were issued to parents and carers on 14 July advising them of the announcement and how the arrangements will work.

Please see our news story for more details.

If you still have questions, please check our learning and education webpage

Key service updates during the current crisis can also be found on our dedicated Coronvirus education page

If you require more details, please contact your child’s school or nursery or email: educ-comments@stirling.gov.uk

For details on the Scottish Government’s decision to fully reopen schools, including a link to the updated guidance, please head to the Scottish Government website.

The newly published guidance on the reopening of early learning and childcare settings can also be viewed on the Scottish Government website.

Parent Club is a website that provides up-to-date guidance from the Scottish Government on your child’s health and education during the COVID-19 pandemic: 

Young people can find useful info about coronavirus (COVID-19) and details of support or help on the Young Scot website along with details if you are looking for support or help.

Last updated: Wednesday, September 2, 2020 3:51 PM