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News: Schools face new disruption to learning as exams approach

Posted 22 March 2022, by Nina Joynson

A new spike in Covid cases has forced councils to consider a return to remote learning as teaching absences continue to affect Scottish schools.

Three councils – City of Edinburgh, Fife, and Dumfries and Galloway – have voiced concerns that changes to teaching might be necessary as staff absences reach new highs.

Several schools across the country have already returned to blended or remote learning in some capacity, leaving parents scrambling to meet changing childcare needs.

The news comes two years after the first lockdown which saw schools close in March 2020, and just weeks before senior pupils face their first formal exam season since 2019.

High levels of staff absence

Updated figures published by the Scottish Government show that last week saw the highest recorded staff absences for this academic year, with 6,058 staff absent last Tuesday, 15 March.

On the same day, 32,649 pupils were also absent for reasons relating to Covid-19, with two-thirds of secondary students having lost teaching time due to the virus this year.

Speaking to Tes Scotland, Jim Thewliss, General Secretary of School Leaders Scotland, said that teachers are coping by prioritising senior pupils with upcoming examinations. This has had consequences for younger pupils, with many being taught in larger groups and some now in 'part-time education', having been sent home or returned to a blended learning approach.

Concerns as exam season begins

The SQA exams will begin for S4 to S6 pupils next month, and the potential return to remote learning has fuelled further concern that these students have not received sufficient and adequate education to prepare them.

This will be the first time many have sat formal examinations, creating added pressure for students who are studying for crucial Higher qualifications.

An end to routine testing

The figures come just as the Scottish Government announced an end to routine testing for those who have no symptoms from 18 April.

Staff and pupils were previously advised to test twice weekly, regardless of symptoms. This recommendation will end after the Easter holidays, despite increasing absence rates and many students entering exam season.

The EIS has called for the decision to be reversed and the guidance maintained but the request was rejected by education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, leaving many to question how schools will cope as the term continues.

A hand holding a pencil filling in an exam questionnaire on a light desk

News: SQA comes under fire for new revision materials

Posted 9 March 2022, by Nina Joynson

There are revived calls for the SQA to be replaced as the authority publishes new exam guidance that many call ‘patronising’ and ‘useless’.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has faced backlash over their new exam guidance, published this week. .

The materials, originally promised in February, were supposed to help students after their continued disruption to learning during the pandemic. However, they have been widely criticised as failing to meet the expectations of pupils, teachers, and politicians

The authority was first mocked on Monday evening when the materials were published a day early by accident. The SQA later issued an apology on Twitter.

Criticism over 'basic' advice

Most of the backlash, however, relates to the content of the resources. When officially published on Tuesday, many took to social media to describe them as giving basic and ‘useless’ advice, and being ‘patronising’ and ‘ridiculous’.

The materials have also been criticised for being unbalanced with some subjects receiving detailed guidance while others included information already well known to students.

Pupils preparing for their Higher Physics and Chemistry exams have been advised that “it’s always a good idea to spell words correctly” while those sitting Advanced Higher History have been told “remember to answer what the question is asking”.

A number of MSPs were vocal in their disapproval. Michael Marra, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education, tweeted:

“I have submitted an Urgent Question today regarding the latest unacceptable shambles from the @SQANews

Pupils and teachers deserve answers from the Government and @S_A_Somerville must take responsibility.

Once more, the SQA shows contempt for those it is meant to serve.”

Post-pandemic support

Exams start next month for pupils studying National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications for the first time since 2019 when formal examinations were cancelled due to COVID-19.

The materials were released with a statement from chief executive Fiona Robertson, describing them as "part of the SQA's commitment to providing a substantial package of additional support" to reduce the pandemic's impact on students' education.

The aim of the resources was to narrow the gap in education over the last year, with students facing differing levels of disruption, and support, due to location, social inequalities and digital access.

Wider education reform

This latest SQA controversy has put the SNP under further pressure to replace the authority.

Last year, independent advisor Ken Muir was commissioned by the Scottish Government to undertake a review of Education Scotland and the SQA’s retirement, drawing on 800 consultation responses from organisations, groups and individuals and 4000 from children and young people.

The results of the review – including recommendations on the future of Scottish qualifications – are expected to be published on Thursday (10 March).

Covid impact ‘risking future of vital services for young people’ across Scotland, survey finds

11 February 2022


The viability of services for children, young people and families throughout Scotland is under significant threat as a result of the pandemic, a new survey has revealed. The research, undertaken by the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Children and Young People, found that 90% of organisations are facing ‘some’ or ‘significant’ barriers to delivering their services, with the future of a range of services now in jeopardy.

The pandemic’s negative effects on the mental health of children, young people and their families were also starkly highlighted, with 86% of respondents reporting negative impacts – alongside related concerns about consequences for children’s development.Survey participants are all organisations and services that work with children, young people and families, encompassing local authority, national and third sector providers. The views of all local authorities are represented, with the exception of Shetland Islands Council. Other key findings include:

  • 74% of organisations are struggling with staff capacity to deliver services, with many saying that increased demand is a major reason for this pressure
  • 35% cite digital inclusion as an issue
  • 56% say they are seeing increasing levels of inequality
  • 49% of organisations report longer waiting times.

Lack of access to local authority facilities, financial stresses being experienced by families, and the pandemic’s effects on staff recruitment, retention, morale and wellbeing also emerge as key concerns.The Cross-Party Group, co-convened by MSPs Meghan Gallacher and Kaukab Stewart, with secretariat provided by YouthLink Scotland and Children in Scotland, has been discussing the pandemic’s impact on service delivery and on children, young people and families for the past 18 months.The survey was designed to inform policy discussions around current needs and recovery in the wake of the pandemic, and get a sense of continued and systemic challenges that could undermine the delivery of services now and in the future. The headline report will be shared with the Scottish Government, MSPs, COSLA and members of the Cross-Party Group.

Co-Convener of the CPG, Kaukab Stewart MSP, commented:

“This is a valuable survey being published in Children’s Mental Health Week as we seek to understand better how the pandemic has impacted children and young people. The national lockdowns by their very name, created circumstances which few people have ever experienced before and understandably it has taken its toll on children and young people.

“It’s time to recognise what we need to do to support good mental health for young people and children - not just for recovery from Covid but embedded in our culture in much the same way that Zoom and Teams calls are now part of everyday life.”

Co-Convener of the CPG, Meghan Gallacher MSP, said:

"Ninety per cent of organisations have raised serious concerns about the future viability of their delivery of key services for children, young people, and families. That is a huge red flag.

“The mental health of our children and young people has been severely affected throughout the pandemic. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that we address the concerns raised in this report as a matter of urgency.

“I am calling on ministers to ensure that changes are made to strengthen the current policy landscape to protect these vital services. That will enable stakeholders to deliver services that are robust and fit for purpose.

“For the sake of the children, young people and families who so desperately rely upon these services, these vital changes cannot be delayed.”

Through the survey, organisations identified a range of changes they would like to see in relation to the development of policy and practical Covid-19 guidance, including:

  • Access to provision of key support during school hours so that teaching staff and pupils benefit from experienced voluntary organisations
  • An ambitious new national youth work strategy, promoted to government, formal education sector, health sector and businesses
  • Grant-makers talking to frontline workers and listening directly to people in communities to better understand the reality on the ground
  • Equality between private and local authority wages in nursery settings
  • Greater clarity about council buildings being open for essential support of families and children.

Tim Frew, YouthLink Scotland CEO, commented:

"In this latest survey there are very clear messages from children and young people’s organisations around the continued detrimental impact the pandemic is having on crucial services that children and young people rely on.

“The findings are unfortunately not surprising, but they will, I hope, offer further vital evidence to both national and local government on the need to work with the sector on recovery and further invest in and protect organisations who have and continue to support children, young people and families through these challenging times.”

Judith Turbyne, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, said:

“These survey results offer an insight into the hard reality faced by services on the ground in the aftermath of the pandemic – and the consequences for children, young people and families across Scotland.

“Alongside YouthLink Scotland, we urge the Scottish Government, MSPs and COSLA to pay attention to the findings and listen to the important views on policy change captured in the research.“As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, issues such as the role of voluntary organisations in supporting schools, access to council buildings, and wage parity in early years settings must now receive the attention they deserve.”

Click here to view and download the Pandemic Impact Survey Report 2022

Pandemic Impact Survey Report 2022

The report from the Scottish Parliament's CPG on Children and Young People

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News: Scottish Government criticised for failing to put ventilation strategy into action in schools

Posted 2 December, 2021 by Jennifer Drummond

Concerns over a lack of sustainable options for improving clean air flow in schools has led to calls for the Scottish Government to commit to delivering a credible, long-term ventilation strategy.

The issue was debated in Holyrood yesterday (Wednesday 1 December), with Scottish Labour's call for more commitment and progress receiving support from across the political spectrum.

Opening the debate, Scottish Labour education spokesperson Michael Marra MSP criticised the Scottish Government for their lack of action, suggesting activity so far amounted to “little more than [moving] furniture around”.

Concerns were raised around expectations that airflow would primarily be managed by opening windows. This approach, particularly over winter, was argued to be increasingly impractical, with Parliament told teachers were already reporting classrooms to be “uncomfortably cold”. MSPs in the chamber also highlighted the likely impact of this approach on health and wellbeing and the short and long-term effect on learning.

Restating support for the introduction of mechanical air purifiers in all schools, Mr Marra and parliament colleagues questioned why more had not been done to introduce high articulate particle absorbing (HEPA) filters in every classroom across the country, particularly as a financial commitment had been made to do so.

Speaking in support of her government’s existing approach, Kaukab Stewart MSP, a former teacher, said her understanding from education colleagues was that “mitigations and adaptations were being made”. She cited recent survey results from EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union, which suggested members “felt ventilation issues were being addressed”.

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville also supported the government’s approach. She reported expert advice not to use HEPA filters as a substitute for natural ventilation and maintained that this would be the ongoing approach promoted for education buildings.

The debate comes a week after teaching union NASUWT wrote to Ms Somerville, highlighting failures around the provision of Co2 monitoring equipment in teaching areas in all schools and criticising the lack of clear guidance about the steps to be taken when poor air quality is established.

Click here to watch the debate on Scottish Parliament TV.

Summer days, but changed services for families

Sarah De Rees from the Orkney Islands’ Home-Start team updates on the impact of Phase 3 and the continuing resilience of families in the face of the pandemic

The hot, bright sun is shining down on the beach; its light painting the ocean with streaks of blue and green and the glistening of what looks like millions of diamonds. The car thermometer reads 19 degrees Celsius but without the usual breeze it feels like 22.

There is a sandcastle which looks like a well-constructed fort, little footprints in the golden sand and children splashing in the water and carefully admiring a lion’s mane jellyfish while avoiding getting stung.

Days like this are some of the best Orkney summer days. It feels wonderful and quite normal, until you recognise a friend, walk over and suddenly remember social distancing… Instead of the hug, we do an awkward little upper body dance, as if our brains know but our bodies have not quite grown accustomed to this untactile way of greeting yet.

Since writing my first blog piece, Scotland has experienced the gradual changes of our route out of lockdown. We are in Phase 3 now, which means we can meet a limited number of friends in groups while maintaining a two-meter social distance, travel unlimited for any purpose and even go on holiday. Young children can play with their friends without inhibitions and enjoy sleepovers again too, making things feel that little bit more normal again.

The bonus of it being the summer holidays has certainly been a relief to school-age children and their parents. Being able to go into a friend’s house is a huge thing for a child and has allowed those children who have felt some anxiety about the constantly changing rules to feel more relaxed.

For some of our Home-Start families, things have been more difficult despite the relaxation on lockdown restrictions and this phase has been the toughest yet. Families join us for several reasons but essentially because our volunteers’ practical help with the children or at home is a welcome support, or our Group Support sessions provide a safe place to socialise in a small group.

Due to the relaxed social distancing guidelines, some parents have begun to feel more isolated and found life more difficult because as an organisation we are not able to provide the practical face – to – face support yet. As a service we follow the Scottish government and the relevant health and social care guidelines, so we tread with caution; for now we continue to provide telephone support or video calls, which is fine but does not always meet families’ needs.

With a number of grants available we have been able to support families financially when needed and were delighted when we were chosen as the charity of choice by one of the younger members of the community: seven-year-old dog loving Rianne wrote a fantastic book called ‘Mayhem at Mike’s’ to raise funds for Home-Start Orkney. She is a talented young author with a big heart and raised a whopping £800!

Currently we are looking at how and when to resume face-to-face support and we continue to work towards a way of providing our services which meet the needs of all our families. With the various complexities of life in a pandemic, they have shown a resilience and positivity which can only be admired.

They are all wonderful and we very much look forward to seeing our lovely Home-Start families again.


About the author

Sarah De Rees works for Home-Start Orkney

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Young people to lead new Living Museums project

2 July 2020

A group of 14 to 21-year-olds will help shape how museums engage with young people as part of Living Museums, launched today.

Children in Scotland is recruiting a group of 10-15 young people to get involved in the new participation project.

Living Museums aims to improve access to museums for young people and share their perspectives on important experiences, including the impact of Covid-19.

Policy and Participation Officer Jane Miller, who is managing the project, said:

“Through our previous Heritage Hunters project we discovered that young people are less likely to get involved in or visit museums.

“Recent events have shown us the importance of being able to reflect on our own understandings and perceptions of culture and heritage.

“Young people are important for helping us to re-frame, challenge and evolve our understanding.

“Living Museums will look at the barriers that young people experience when accessing museums and explore what things could help make things better, encouraging more young people to get involved."

Young people’s rights and the importance of communicating their stories will be at the heart of the project work.

“Young people have the right to have their voice heard and taken into consideration,” Jane added.

“We will be looking at creating new content and capturing the experiences of young people’s during the pandemic and exploring key themes that have been highlighted.

“We will work together to think of a way of collating and sharing these experiences using digital tools.”

Living Museums will also be an opportunity to explore how museums can reflect issues that are important to young people in 2020 and share their lived experiences with new audiences.

Applying to take part is straightforward – young people who'd like to be involved simply need to complete a consent form and answer a few questions.

Click here to download an information sheet about how to get involved today

The project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

For more information on the Living Museums project, email Jane at


Living Museums recruitment film

In this short film Jane Miller explains the project and how to get involved

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The Living Museums project explained

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Information Sheet

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Consent Form

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Proportion of Children in Scotland staff to be furloughed for three-week period

5 June 2020

Children in Scotland has announced today that it will be furloughing some of its staff for a three-week period during June.

The charity’s Chief Executive Jackie Brock said:

“Our Leadership Team and Board recently came to the difficult decision to furlough a number of staff across the organisation.

“This will commence from the end of the working day on Tuesday 9 June, with furloughed staff returning on Wednesday 1 July.

“The organisation will remain active during this period with non-furloughed staff and our services continuing as normal.

“This decision was not reached easily and has been a financially-driven one, ensuring that we are able to make use of the UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme through to 31 October 2020 if needed.

“Staff being furloughed include those working in policy, projects and participation; events delivery; communications and membership engagement; and central services.

“Other staff, including myself, our Head of Inclusion Sally Cavers and those leading on key service areas, will be continuing over the three-week period.

“We are confident that furloughing will not impact on delivery of our services. Further information on our services, learning programme and projects follows below.

“I want to stress that we have done this as a protective measure to strengthen the prospects and sustainability of Children in Scotland in the current challenging climate. Our Board, Leadership Team and staff are in agreement that this is the right course of action.

“We look forward to working with you through June, and to the full breadth of our activities resuming from the 1 July.”


Information on services

Enquire and Reach

The Enquire helpline is open for enquiries about additional support for learning in Scottish schools.

Enquire has a coronavirus section (click to read) on their website which provides a wide range of information.

The Reach website is also available to provide children and young people with advice and information, and has a specific coronavirus page (click to read).

My Rights, My Say

Face-to-face meetings aren’t happening right now but there is still some help available for children aged 12-15 with additional support needs to speak up about the support they need with their education.

A coronavirus service update page (click to read) is available on the website outlining what the partners are able to offer.

Resolve: ASL Mediation

Resolve Mediation Service will be continuing to offer our service online and by telephone. Please contact us at or call 07955 788967 for individual referrals or any other queries

Parenting across Scotland

The team is continuing to provide information and advice to parents and carers via their website and have developed a specific coronavirus page. Click here to visit the website.

National Parent Forum of Scotland

The team continues to represent parents and offer support. Click here to visit their website for information and support for parents by parents. You can also contact the team on

Early Learning and Childcare Inclusion Fund

The team continues to provide information and advice. Please email the team:

The next planned funding round of the ELC Inclusion Fund has been delayed until further notice.  We will provide an update as soon as dates have been agreed. For information on the fund, click here.


Project work

Our projects, CHANGE, and the Supporting the Third Sector Project, continue as normal.

Please note: communications in support of some of services and project work, including My Rights, My Say, CHANGE and the Supporting the Third Sector, will be unavailable or substantially reduced between 10 and 30 June.


Find out more about Enquire, the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning

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Resolve:ASL Mediation

Find out more about Resolve: Additional Support for Learning independent mediation service

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We manage the Early Learning and Childcare Inclusion Fund

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Online learning

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National Parent Forum of Scotland

The Forum works to ensure that parents play a full and equal role in education

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Supporting the Third Sector Project

We're supporting organisations to become equal partners in Child and Family Services

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Why our third sector deserves first class support

26 May 2020

In advance of next week's launch of our new Supporting the Third Sector Project, Vicky Wan explains why we want to support organisations to become equal partners in Children and Family Services – and be ready to respond to any future crisis

In her recent blog (click to read), our Head of External Affairs Jacqueline Cassidy reflected on the vital role of the third sector during the health pandemic and its phenomenal response to the challenges of COVID-19. This was later evidenced in the Scottish Government’s COVID-19: Supporting vulnerable children and young people – data intelligence report (click to read). The large range of examples in the report clearly demonstrate the third sector’s ability to sustain its local and national services by changing the model of delivery within a short space of time.

In her 8 April open letter to third sector organisations , Iona Colvin, the Interim Director for Children and Families of the Scottish Government, emphasised the critical role the third sector has in supporting the needs of children, young people and their families (click to read). But she also recognised that the third sector has an enormous amount of knowledge and intelligence about the communities it serves.

“Third sector organisations are uniquely well placed to help us to understand the nature of the challenges that children, young people and families are facing in their homes and communities at this time" - Iona Colvin, Scottish Government Interim Director of Children and Families

One of the reasons why third sector organisations are able to respond to the emergency rather efficiently is largely because of their long-established relationships with the local communities and their understanding of the challenges families continue to face.

Third sector organisations use their professional knowledge to swiftly adjust their own services. They know what the families need and more importantly what will work. Not only that, they share their skills and expertise with partners in the statutory and in the third sector, so together they are able to offer support in a whole-family holistic approach.

A support worker of a charity told us:

“I’ve been supporting this disabled young person for a while. The family was coping well before the outbreak. Since the lockdown, mum became very anxious that her disabled son would be infected with COVID-19 if he fell ill and had to go to the hospital. Dad is a key worker. Her younger son is now home-schooling but she doesn’t have time to help with his learning because she has to care for her older son nearly 24/7. She feels very guilty and stressed.

Through the local children’s services forum, I found out about a befriending service. Mum is now being supported on the phone every day. I also found out about a peer learning group organised by another charity. The younger son is now learning with other children of similar age.”

The benefits of collaborative working are apparent. However, an effective collaboration takes time to develop. Organisations need to have good awareness of services available in the area, a reasonable level of trust in the quality of each other’s work, and referral protocols without unnecessary bureaucracy.

In Scotland, we already have structures in place to support partnership working for many years.

The local children’s services networks, which are usually facilitated by the local Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs), bring organisations together so they can support their peers, exchange good practice, share resources, develop collaborative working arrangements and help shape local services.

Thanks to this established relationship before the outbreak of COVID-19, we can quickly and efficiently mobilise the third sector to deliver and maintain support to children as part of multi-agency plans during the pandemic. Also due to the communication channels already established via the networks, local organisations can continue to feed their experiences and concerns to inform strategic planning at national level, while they concentrate on meeting the needs of families at this difficult time.

Taking the learning from this, while it is important to continue to invest in the frontline service delivery to children and families, we should not undermine the importance of the structures that support and strengthen the third sector. If we do not resource and fund the local networks sufficiently now, are we confident that we will be able to respond as well, if not better, in any future emergency situation?

Our role

Children in Scotland is committed to supporting the Third Sector Interfaces and third sector organisations to become equal partners in Children and Family Services. This includes increasing local third sector engagement and strengthening local support structures through our new Supporting the Third Sector Project.

Supporting the Third Sector

Vicky Wan is Project Manager and part of our PPP team

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Strengthening the sector: learning online

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Confronting the crisis

Jacqueline Cassidy asks if the sector is punching above its weight during the pandemic

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Discussing the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and planning the best way forward

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Responding to the need for connection

Karin McKenny on how we've adapted our training to support the workforce

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Changes to spring learning programme announced

20 March 2020

Children in Scotland has announced changes to its learning programme as a result of Covid-19, including the launch of a new webinar series.

Click here to access all of our forthcoming events

Learning & Events Manager Karin Mckenny said:

"Firstly, thanks for all your support and understanding around the uncertainty around our learning programme.

On average, 5,000 of you attend our training every year, so you can imagine the challenge this is presenting to my lovely team. However, we’re the ‘in-house events team of the year (click to read) for a reason – so we’re on it!

We know that the reasons that you’ve requested training remain, and in some cases they’re amplified – so we’re working hard on alternative delivery methods.

Next week we have these webinars, which you can access through these link for a small fee:

  • 26 March, 10.30am – Supporting parenting in the early years
  • 27 March, 10.30am – Vicarious trauma, and self-care

Please try them out, give us constructive feedback, and together we’ll create new, worthwhile opportunities for learning and connecting.

Not for you? Please, please consider taking a credit for future training rather than a refund. All our events are not-for-profit, so all fees are invested back into the work we do for children and young people.

Thank you again for your patience and we look forward to updating next week with our plans for post-Easter events."

Supporting parents in the early years

10.30am, Thursday 26 March. Trainer: Jan Montgomery

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Vicarious trauma and self-care

10.30am, Friday 27 March. Facilitator: Douglas Sharp

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Third sector services 'must mobilise' to give children and communities support in the fight against Covid-19

20 March 2020

Children in Scotland has responded to yesterday’s statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Education (click to read), John Swinney, on schooling and childcare in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our Chief Executive Jackie Brock said:

“We welcome the statement from the Cabinet Secretary for Education and in particular its repeated emphasis on the need for immediate proactive support for vulnerable children and families. This is we hope a reflection of a shared societal view and sense of priority across Scotland and the UK prompted by the Covid-19 crisis.

Linking help for families with human rights

“While the proposal of vouchers for families currently in receipt of free school meals is an understandable response, alongside Child Poverty Action Group and others organisations who wrote to the First Minister on Wednesday, we believe a cash payment in lieu of free school meals would be more appropriate, avoiding stigma and respecting human rights.

“We are encouraged by the pledge that schools will be used as hubs for the different services that can provide support to the priority groups of young people children and families reliant on free school meals; learners most dependent on educational continuity; and children whose parents are key workers. This will encompass active schools co-ordinators as well as teachers.

“The Food, Families, Futures programme which we have run in partnership since 2016 has provided valuable, relevant learning about how schools can be highly effective hubs for consolidating services and support.

Meeting the challenge on childcare

“Changes in childcare as a consequence of Covid-19 represent a massive challenge for children, families and services. In this incredibly fast-moving situation there is understandably uncertainty about what and where childcare will be provided. We are seeking greater clarity for children and families as soon as it can be provided."

“Core consideration of vulnerable families and key workers is right and proper, but many other families will face a very difficult challenge of meeting needs. As the Resolution Foundation (click to visit) has said, only around one in 10 of the bottom half of earners can feasibly work from home. In this light, the support available for families and employers in these circumstances needs to be very carefully considered.

“In terms of supporting ongoing childcare services, any identification of vulnerable children must be non-stigmatising, and the community support model will need to operate with a fundamental understanding of this.

“Support for the role of the third and private sector childcare providers will be absolutely crucial as this is an especially vulnerable time for them.

Additional Support Needs: local action and continuity vital

“We welcome acknowledgment of the fact that the impacts of Covid-19 are particularly unsettling for children and young people with additional support needs. This now needs to translate into local action, with continuity for children with ASN essential.

“Flexibility on schools opening during the summer holiday period will be helpful in supporting transitions.

“The Cabinet Secretary made the point that practitioners know their children well and we fully support this focus. Practitioners must have the autonomy and resources to respond to individual needs for as long as schools and communities are affected by the virus.

“We agree that Education Scotland plays a key role in providing support and guidance to schools at this time and to parents through Parentzone. Their role and support must be explicit and consistent for all.

Valuing children’s participation and voices

“The Cabinet Secretary’s focus on engaging with partners around giving good quality information to children and young people was also very welcome and must be a priority. But we can take this further and make part of our effort asking children and young people what guidance and information they want to see through direct consultation with them.

Our role and offer

“We should remember that the safety nets being removed as a result of this virus are not just financial. The challenge will be how quickly and efficiently we can mobilise third sector services to give support. The sector can play a critical role in supporting children and young people, which is why we welcome the community hub approach highlighted by the Cabinet Secretary.

“However, this approach must build on existing local effective community hubs or fill gaps where these are not available. These hubs must be inclusive, offering dignified, non-stigmatising provision and be developed across a partnership of local communities, voluntary and statutory sectors.

“We should be looking at the local assets, resources and learning that we can help to marshal, and the powerful networks, relationships and sense of solidarity that exists in our communities.

“We want to support the wider education workforce as they adjust to new ways of working, and help ensure that children and young people’s voices and perspectives are included in this changed landscape.

“As an organisation that represents the children’s sector with convening power to bring organisations and interests together and forge partnerships at a local level, we have a role to play and stand ready to help.”

Click here to read the Cabinet Secretary's statement in full

Letter to the First Minister: Covid-19

We were a signatory to the CPAG-led letter about support for families

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Covid-19: impact on our work

A statement about our status in relation to the COVID-19 virus (updated 17 March)

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Food, Families, Futures

Our project challenging food povertyhas been working in communities since 2016

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