You are here: Home / News


Site News





Following the announcement by the First Minister on Monday 4 January, we want to update you on arrangements for the start of term. These arrangements are designed to reduce the transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19) which means that we need to reduce the number of children and young people attending schools and nurseries until at least 1 February 2021.




Thursday 7 and Friday 8 January 2021


All Schools and Early Learning and Childcare settings will be open for staff and targeted children and young people - vulnerable children and children of key workers.


Teaching and Support Staff in Primary and Early Years establishments who are fit and well should report to their place of work as normal on Thursday 7 January 2021.  Staff who are currently self-isolating according to NHS or Council guidelines, are shielding or are in the latter stages of pregnancy and will be working at home, should discuss this with their line manager before Thursday. Staff who have concerns about underlying health conditions should also get in touch with their line manager to discuss their working arrangements.


Secondary teaching and support staff who are fit and well should be prepared to report to their place of work on Thursday 7 January 2021 as informed by their Head Teacher. The number of staff required will be determined by the anticipated need for the first two days.  Staff who are currently self-isolating according to NHS or Council guidelines, are shielding or are in the latter stages of pregnancy and will be working at home, should discuss this with their line manager before Thursday. Staff who have concerns about underlying health conditions should also get in touch with their line manager to discuss their working arrangements.


Please contact your Education Officer, Manager or HR for advice regarding any health conditions for staff you are unsure of in relation to attendance in the establishment.


Children and young people attending on these two days are for childcare only. All other children and young people will remain on holiday until Monday 11 January 2021.


From 11 January 2021


Remote learning or in school learning resumes for all children and young people.


Schools should determine which staff are required and finalise the rotas/timetables to ensure safe delivery of learning and provision to those in school and nursery whilst also ensuring the delivery of remote learning for those young people learning from home.


It is anticipated that once the level of need for each school and nursery is identified, teaching and support staff will be advised when they are required to report to the establishment and when to work from home.


The number of staff required will be determined by the anticipated need over the next 3 weeks until at least 1 February 2021 and will be subject to change. Staff should be aware that arrangements and rotas will need to be flexible to meet the need.


Vulnerable Children and Young People


Schools and Nurseries have used the National Practice Model (SHANARRI) to identify children and young people who are vulnerable, including those with complex additional support needs. These children should be asked to attend school and nursery as planned and parents should be informed by schools. We will require to follow safeguarding procedures if these children do not attend in the same way we consider absence. Protocols for safeguarding for the highest risk pupils are already in place.


Appendix 1 provides helpful guidance for the definition of VCYP.


Key Workers


We are awaiting further clarification regarding the definition of key workers but are already anticipating that more children and young people will be deemed to be in need of such a place on this occasion. For example, many DCC employees, including our own staff, will be key workers. We are also aware that contact tracing was scaled up significantly since the last year’s lockdown and therefore may not be reflected in current key worker processes. We wanted to ensure that everyone was aware that in light of their role in tackling the pandemic, contact tracers and those supporting Test and Trace fall under category 1 for key worker childcare as will those who are supporting the vaccination programme.


Further guidance on schools and nurseries in the current period, including key workers, is due to be published in the near future, and we asked for Scottish Government for contacting tracing to be explicitly mentioned as category 1.  


Schools and nurseries should respond to individual requests from keyworkers applying with a sensitive and pragmatic approach. 


We will continue to monitor and review the demand for each school and nursery and the data around these two groups is key in determining the level of staffing that will be required over the next few weeks.


Early Years Settings and Nursery classes


Will open for identified vulnerable children and key workers for normal hours and provision.


Places for eligible 2 year olds

At the end of last term, we were advised by the Scottish Government that:


Children who are eligible for a funded 2-year-old place can continue to access provision, even if they do not strictly meet the definition of vulnerable children set out in the guidance

You are asked therefore to consider whether to extend this access to any other eligible 2-year-old not already included in your plans as you are best placed to make this decision based on your knowledge of families' needs. 

For those eligible 2-year old’s we considered vulnerable before this new information, we would offer their normal pattern of attendance and then it's for Head Teachers and Centre Managers to assess whether there is an offer to any other children eligible for a 2-year-old place and if so, whether it's part time or full time - there is no rule for this, it's professional judgement and based on each family's circumstances.


In relation to those 2-year olds who were considered vulnerable at the end of last term and are moving to the 3-5's soon, then if they are still considered vulnerable, an offer of a place should be considered. For clarity, we are not suggesting we apply the two's eligibility criteria to all 3-5's.


Kingspark/Rockwell Learning Centre


Kingspark and Rockwell Learning Centre are making provision for children and young people who are vulnerable and whose parents are key workers. 


For children and young people in Kingspark we must ensure their health and protection which means monitoring numbers on a daily basis. This means that some children and young people who need to self-isolate will receive targeted outreach support.


Additional Support Needs


All schools and nurseries must have considered planning for children and young people with Additional Support Needs in their recovery plans. They should be based on what they already know about the child’s needs and review their individual plans in light of any impact of Covid-19. If there are things which have increased the vulnerability or risks for a child, this will be considered in the planning for their return. 


A risk assessment plan is in place for every school and nursery to ensure that there are appropriate safety measures and controls including safe physical distance and hygiene control. 


Some children and young people need additional support, which means that different considerations are required, for example, where staff need to help with intimate care, provision of some medications and healthcare supports. However, schools will have carried out individual risk assessments to ensure everyone stays safe. For example, they will decide whether PPE should be worn. At all times the wellbeing, safety and best interests of children and the staff will be carefully considered. 


School Meal Arrangements


Lunch will be provided for all children and young people in attendance at school and nursery ‑ this will be a hot bagged meal option delivered in the normal way as per the end of last term. These will be served mainly in the dining centres or nursery playrooms.


Other children entitled to FSM will be allocated a direct payment.


The time of the lunches for schools will be between 12.15pm and 1.15pm and Tayside Contracts will inform Head Teachers which production kitchen will be providing for their school. The timings for lunches for nursery will be as per the agreed timings prior to the end of term.




Transport will be provided for Kingspark/Frances Wright and those vulnerable children schools have asked to attend who require transport. 




Breakfast Clubs/Out of School Care Clubs


School run Breakfast Clubs will operate.


Breakfast Club provision will be available for those who would normally attend and are also identified as key workers/vulnerable pupils attending the school as normal.


OOSC Clubs will run as normal where the club has decided it is viable to run i.e. in current school week hours for any who already attend.




There will be further communications issued centrally for parents, children and young people and it would be appreciated if you could share these through as many channels as you have available.




Appendix 1

Vulnerable children and young people – definition                                 


Children and young people may be vulnerable because of factors related to their personal development, features of their family life, or because of wider influences that impact on them within their community.


Those children who were considered to be vulnerable prior to the pandemic should have been known to services, and are likely to have had a child’s plan.


Where a child requires co-ordinated support from more than one agency, this is likely to suggest greater vulnerability, and the plan would be co-ordinated by a lead professional. This would include a range of children and young people, such as those:


·       at risk of significant harm, with a child protection plan

·       looked after at home, or away from home

·       ‘on the edge of care’, where families would benefit from additional support

·       with additional support needs, where there are one or more factors which require significant or co-ordinated support

·       affected by disability

·       where they and/or their parents are experiencing poor physical or mental health

·       experiencing adversities including domestic abuse and bereavement

·       requiring support when they are involved in making transitions at critical stages in their lives.


Children and families may also experience adversity because of the impact of poverty and disadvantage (including entitlement to free school meals), and many will be facing this because of the necessary measures to respond to the pandemic.  This will include families with loss of income, experiencing social isolation, or otherwise struggling because of the lockdown.


Decision making for this group


Local authorities and health boards, working with partners including third sector organisations, will either know or be able to identify the children and families within their areas who are potentially at risk and therefore need additional support.  The need for additional support can be identified prior to birth, so this should include help for pregnant women.


Crucially, vulnerability is not an exclusive concept, but should take account of all of these factors and others, that means that a child and family may need additional support. The judgement of the children’s sector professionals – critically those working most closely with the family – will be paramount in assessing vulnerability.


Those who work directly with children and young people are best placed to identify children and young people who will require support in order to ensure their wellbeing, as a result of these exceptional phased opening arrangements.


Named Person (key point of contact) service


Named persons as key points of contact are a very important first response for vulnerable children (as defined above).