If you have any additional questions that are not answered below, please don’t hesitate to contact your Head Teacher or Head of Centre who will be happy to help.
When is my school re-opening?
Pupils in West Dunbartonshire will begin their return to school from Wednesday, 12 August, and begin the new blended approach of in school and at home learning.
Teachers will return to school in June to accommodate transition visits and to make arrangements for the new term starting in August.
When is my Early Learning and Childcare Centre (ELCC) re-opening?
ELCCs will open to children on the same day as schools, Wednesday, 12 August.
What days will my child be in school/ELCC?
There will be a staggered return to our establishments starting from Wednesday, 12 August and your Head Teacher will be in touch before the end of term to confirm which days of the week your child will be attending school.
Previously your child’s entitlement was the equivalent of 1140hrs or 600hrs per year, depending on the ELC your child attended. Under the new model, children will now receive approximately 16 hours split across two full days and one half day every second week which is the equivalent of 600 hours per year.
This phasing will ensure that children are safely returned and that new children are given time to settle.
Primary school children will attend school for two days each week and the remaining days will be spent at home doing a mix of online learning and completing work sent with the child from school. This work will be reviewed when they return to the classroom to ensure pupil progress is monitored.
Our secondary schools will design bespoke models of learning to suit individual schools. The number of days students spend in-school will vary. As a minimum, senior phase pupils in S4, 5 and 6 will attend school two days every week with students in S1, 2 and 3 attending one day each week.
These models will be in place initially from August until October. We will continue to monitor scientific advice with a view to increasing the number of days children can attend school/ELCC as soon as it is safe to do so.
Can the numbers of days my child is in class be increased?
This model has been carefully developed for West Dunbartonshire’s schools and ELCCs, taking into account the number of our pupils, the size of buildings, and the requirement for physical distancing, to ensure we can provide as much time in school as is safely possible. The model of two days ensures smaller groups are in attendance meaning pupils and staff can adhere to strict health and safety guidance including physical distancing. At any one time, schools will operate at up to 50% capacity. We are unable to increase the number of children attending school at this time but will continue to follow and act on Government guidance. As soon as it is safe to have additional numbers of children in school, we will do so.
What is the blended model and how will this support my child?
The blended model of learning is a combination of in school learning, digital learning and home learning. We have robust plans in place to support all of our young people including the establishment of a virtual school campus@wdc to assist with and enhance digital learning. On the days your child is learning at home, they will be supported by a range of interesting and engaging lessons from campus@wdc incorporating a mixture of live lessons and pre-recorded videos from our teaching staff. Our experienced Headteacher, John McDonald, has been seconded to lead our campus@wdc and this will be supported by teachers from across the authority on a rotational basis.
Families will be provided with detailed information on our blended model and access to campus@wdc in advance of schools returning in August.
Are parents having to become teachers at home?
Parents/carers are not expected to replicate the school experience at home. Home learning should be filled with fun activities that can easily be done within the house. Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our pupils and we would encourage parents/carers to keep home learning fun and engaging to ensure children remain happy and healthy.
We also understand the challenges faced by working parents and appreciate they won't have the same time to dedicate to their child's learning. Home learning will include projects appropriate to the age of children and tasks which children can easily work on from home and with limited adult supervision.
There is no need for families to provide additional learning resources for children as jotters, workbooks, paper and other materials can be collected from each school.
Who can I contact for support?
Your Headteacher and teachers are available to support you in your child’s learning and they can signpost you to additional services for further support if required. Please do continue to ask for help. We would actively encourage parents/carers to contact us at any point to ensure we can swiftly arrange further support if required.
I have two children in different year groups/different schools. How will that work?
We are committed to supporting parents/carers and to making this new model of learning easy for those families who have more than one child. We will do everything we can to arrange for siblings who attend the same school but are in different year groups to attend school on the same days as each other.
How will you ensure the safety of my child when at school or ELCC?
The Council is being guided by and will stringently follow the scientific evidence and advice from Public Health Scotland.
We are committed to the safety of all our pupils and every decision we take will consider the health and wellbeing of your child first and foremost. There will be a reduced number of pupils in school at any one time, which will mean pupils will be able to follow physical distancing guidance. Regular hand washing will be undertaken by all pupils and staff and hand sanitiser stations will be in place with additional sinks installed where required.
In addition, we plan to have staggered lunch and intervals, as well as start and finish times to reduce the number of children arriving and leaving at one time. We plan to lay clear floor markings to show a one way system, and queuing systems will be in place in all our establishments that adhere to physical distancing guidance.
In order to help younger pupils, markings on the ground will remind pupils about the importance of physical distancing.
We understand it is impossible for our teachers and support staff to physically distance whilst caring for younger children. To address this, our ELCC staff will work with smaller groups and make more use of outdoor space. Our ELCC workers will still need to physically distance from their colleagues, parents and carers when collecting children and new arrangements will be put in place to stagger drop off and pick up times to help ensure this guidance can be followed.
We’re asking parents and carers to protect our children and communities by maintaining physical distancing when dropping off and picking up children too, and not to congregate at entrances or exits.
We will also have enhanced cleaning in schools and ELCCs which will be focussed on frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, railings, sinks and toilets.
Will staff or children need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
Children will not be required to wear PPE while in class or during breaks. All schools will have a stock of PPE which can be used by staff if required eg when undertaking personal care such as changing nappies, in our Early Learning Centres or supporting personal care of children and young people with additional support needs.
My child uses school transport to and from school. Will this change?
Every child entitled to receive school transport prior to the closure will continue to receive this when the schools return in August, and this will include anyone whose change of circumstances now entitles them to school transport such as those moving to secondary school. We are currently working on plans to safely transport pupils to and from school while adhering to physical distancing guidance. We will update you as soon as plans are confirmed with our providers.
Where possible, we would ask parents who are able to make their own arrangements to take and collect their children from school to do so. We would also encourage any pupils, where it is safe to do so, to walk or cycle to and from school.
I’m worried that my child is not learning enough at home. What support will be in place for this in the new term?
Unfortunately it is not possible, for safety reasons, to have all pupils return to school for full-time education. We understand the concerns of parents and carers who are working and being asked to support their children at home for part of the week. In addition to the current supports provided direct from every school, and continuing communication between staff and families, the new blended model will provide additional support for young people and families with the opportunity for learning activities set in the classroom to be undertaken at home and these can then be checked on the next day of attending school. In addition campus@wdc will provide live and pre-recorded lessons.
I’m concerned about my job if children are only attending school two days a week
Childcare Hubs for children of key workers will continue to operate over the summer, and from August.
What if the days I’m provided for my child to attend school don’t suit, eg, I need to attend work on other days or I can only get childcare on the days when my child is meant to be attending?
The model for every school has been carefully planned by Head Teachers to maintain the safety of all children. We understand that it may be difficult for some families to manage the arrangements put in place and we will do everything we can to support our parents and carers in these exceptional circumstances.
How will the cleaning and hygiene of schools and ELCCs be managed?
All educational establishments will be fully cleaned prior to pupils returning and thereafter regular cleaning will be undertaken including cleaning of frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, railings, sinks and toilets. A cleaning process in line with Health Protection Scotland Guidance, is also in place for disinfecting areas where a suspected or confirmed case of the virus is identified. Regular hand washing remains as the single most effective means of prevention. Pupils will be reminded of the importance of good hand hygiene. Regular hand washing will be undertaken by all pupils and staff, which is currently standard in our childcare hubs. In addition hand sanitiser stations will be in place with additional sinks installed where required.
How can we protect pupils and parents/carers classed as high-risk?
A small number of children and/or parents/carers will fall into the extremely vulnerable category, and will have received a shielding letter. In these circumstances parents/carers should seek and follow medical advice. Further information is available from https://www.nhsinform.scot/.
We know the scientific evidence has shown the effects of Covid-19 are typically less severe in children than in adults, but we appreciate the concerns from families who have underlying medical conditions. We are also aware of pupils who share homes with individuals whose circumstances, such as age or medical conditions, mean they will be more at-risk than others. Plans are ongoing on how we can safely accommodate the safe return to school for these individuals to keep both them and their families safe. We would encourage you to speak to your Head Teacher or Head of Centre about your individual circumstances to see how best we can support you.
I’m anxious about Covid-19 and don’t want to send my children to school/ELCC. Will I be penalised?
Children have now been off school since March. The Scottish Government’s plans for reopening schools are based on scientific advice and enable as many children and young people as possible to return to education and care settings at the earliest date on which it is safe to do so. Parents have a legal duty to ensure their child receives an education and we would encourage parents to send their children to school. Learning at school and ELCC improves all aspects of children's progress and development including their wellbeing.
We are committed to the safety of all our pupils and we will adhere to all Scottish Government and Public Health advice and guidance to keep our children safe and prevent the spread of the virus.
Does my child need to wear their uniform on the days they are in school?
We are promoting that children and young people wear their school uniform where possible. All pupils will be required to wear their uniform on the days they attend school. This ensures our pupils are easily identifiable and in addition, wearing a school uniform also helps children understand the difference of education in school and at home.
Wearing a school uniform is still the cheapest way to dress your child for school and also takes away peer pressure of wearing branded clothes at school.
Headteachers can offer support and advice where required.
What happens if my child takes unwell at school?
If any of our pupils take unwell at school, they will be held in isolation from their fellow pupils until they can be safely collected. Any pupil testing positive would need to self-isolate at home for at least 7 days. We would also ask pupils who have been in close contact with someone testing positive for Covid19 to self-isolate for 14 days in line with NHS guidance. If you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), then you must stay at home for at least 7 days. All other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill. Having smaller groups of pupils in class reduces the number of pupils required to self-isolate if one of their peers tests positive.
I’m finding it difficult to motivate my child to learn at home . How can I get help?
We appreciate this has been a very difficult time for parents and carers and we are grateful to all of our families for their efforts to engage young people in our home learning. Learning at home will continue to support the lessons delivered in school. From August the digital school campus@wdc will further enhance home learning and provide additional structure and support. We ask parents and carers to encourage their children to engage and to contact their school for further help and support if needed.
What plans are there for senior phase pupils due to sit exams next year?
Preparations for the 2021 exam diet are underway and the Scottish Qualifications Authority will provide further advice to schools to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to capture, on an ongoing basis, the learning outcomes met by young people in the Senior Phase in school year 2020/21. This will provide a strong evidence base to support assessment and certification and we await further details on how this will be structured. We encourage all of our pupils to continue to study and maintain their efforts on all assignments to ensure they are well prepared in the event that continuous assessment throughout the academic year is used to determine qualifications.
If required, could my child repeat a year?
We would encourage all children to work hard to maintain their level of learning and reduce the need to consider repeating their school year. The early closure of school at the end of March meant pupils had already completed more than three quarters of the school year and if pupils return in August we don’t believe this will be required.
What wellbeing supports will be available to pupils when they return?
The current pandemic has impacted every one of us and we understand pupils will have experienced some level of additional stress and pressure during lockdown. All our educational staff have been trained in mental health and wellbeing to support pupils. Our psychological services will offer help and support where required and parents should be encouraged to speak to their school for further support if they have any concerns over the health and wellbeing of their child.
Pupils can also access The Big White Wall, a free online confidential support service available to residents aged between 16-24. For further information visit www.bigwhitewall.com The service is completely anonymous.
My child has additional support needs (ASN). What support will there be for ASN pupils?
Your child will start a phased return to school from 12 August. Work is ongoing to plan transport and any specialist support your child requires. Education will work in partnership with colleagues in Health and Social Care Partnership to offer support to children with ASN. All children with healthcare plans will have these reviewed for returning to school to reassure parents.
All required safety assessments will be in place and will outline how we will support programmes to care for your child which will include administering medication, feeding, exercising and physiotherapy.
We will continue to support families and carers to ensure the new safety measures are introduced and maintained with minimum upset or inconvenience to you child.
If you have any questions related to your child, please contact your Head Teacher for further reassurance.
My child was in nursery all day in March. Can I get the additional hours at my nursery when we return?
The Scottish Government has removed the legal duty on councils to provide 1140 hours of early learning and childcare to all eligible two-year-olds and three and four-year-olds by August 2020. This decision was made to support councils who are providing front line support in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
All children are entitled to receive 600 hours a year of early learning and childcare, but given the new guidelines of reduced sized groups, we are unable to offer children 1140 hours in August.
We are awaiting further guidance from the Scottish Government which is due later this month and we will update this information when we receive it.
We will also update you on the estimated delay to our original timeline for our new build centres as work had to be suspended due to the lockdown.
When will I find out about my child's nursery place?
Once we receive the guidance from the Scottish Government, we will be in a position to offer further advice and will be in touch with parents and carers directly to provide an update on applications before the end of term. We would still encourage parents to apply for their child’s place as soon as possible to provide us with the numbers of children required to plan for the future and consider requests.
My child currently gets 1140 hours. Will this continue?
Your centre will be in touch directly, however, it is unlikely we will be able to continue to provide 1140 hours when your child returns.
New health and safety regulations mean we need to significantly reduce the number of children attending nursery at one time. We are waiting on further information from Scottish Government and will update you as soon as possible.
How do I get a childcare place for my child at school or ELCC?
If you meet the criteria above but haven't applied for a place, please visit our website to apply for a place or contact 01389 737309 and leave a message. If you no longer require your place, please contact us as soon as possible so we can offer this place to another family.
Which schools and nurseries are providing childcare?
From August most schools and centres will be able to support childcare as a last resort for key workers who have exhausted all other avenues of support, depending on capacity.
We have a significantly reduced our hub model over summer to six hubs operating from our secondary schools. Most pupils supported will be identified and managed by individual establishments.
For parents who require childcare, some allocation of support will be available if your employer has been granted key worker status by the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government has stipulated that if possible all children should be safely cared for at home. In addition, to access childcare both parents must be key workers. We expect families to apply for childcare if all other possible avenues of support have been exhausted.
Who is considered a key worker?
We are able to accommodate children of Key workers who’s employer has been granted key worker status by Scottish Government and only where both parents employment is within this category.
For information on key workers visit the Scottish Government webpage for further details.
When will I get my exams results this year?
The Scottish Qualification Authority has announced that for this year, schools and colleges are not required to submit coursework for marking in Higher and Advanced Higher courses. Full details can be found on the SQA website
Please sign up to MySQA, the SQA's online and text service, as a direct way to receive your results If you want to receive your results by email and text on Tuesday 4 August 2020, you'll have to sign up and activate your account by 5pm Wednesday 15 July 2020. We will do everything we can to support our pupils on to further education, employment or training.
Will free school meals/clothing grants still be provided?
You are eligible for free nursery/school meals and a school clothing grant if you receive benefits. For more information and to find out if you qualify visit the Free School Meals and Clothing Grant page.
Free school meals will be available in August to all P1-P3 pupils and all eligible P4 – S6 pupils while attending school. For days when your child is not in school, parents will receive money on their Farmfoods voucher card. If your circumstances have changed and you consider yourself eligible for free school meal provision you are able to apply at any time.
Changes have been made to the school meals menu to facilitate the provision and distribution of sealed food packages for pupils to overcome the challenges of cross contamination, queuing at the servery and to facilitate the necessary meal sittings. Menus will be limited to a sandwich option or cold salad/pasta option and will be published online before the school term resumes. Please speak to your Headteacher if your child has a Special Medical Diet.
I have paid for child’s school trip and it has been cancelled. What happens now?
In line with advice from the Scottish Government, all school trips were cancelled. Work is ongoing with the Council’s insurance section and with third parties to secure refunds for monies already paid. Further information will be issued from schools as soon as possible.