Falkirk Council schools remain closed

Falkirk Council has been unable to open schools today (Monday) as planned as it struggled to accommodate more than 2000 requests for childcare from essential workers

By Kirsty Paterson
Monday, 23rd March 2020, 11:28 am
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 11:35 am

On Saturday, Scottish Government guidance on key roles was extended to include workers in critical roles to keep the country running such as oil and energy workers, people working in or supplying to supermarkets and pharmacies.

These are in addition to NHS, emergency services, care workers and other key roles.

Applications for places closed at midnight on Saturday and more than 2000 places were approved.

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20-03-2020. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk High School. Pupils leaving the end of their school day. Schools across the country closing to the majority of pupils. With provisions being made to allow access for those pupils who have a parent or parents deemed key workers and vulnerable pupils.

At 5pm on Sunday, the council informed parents via text, email and its website that despite working round the clock, staff had been unable to finalise arrangements for such a large number of children.

A spokesperson on Twitter said: “This is a rapidly changing situation and we’re publishing information as it comes to us. But it is all subject to change in line with health, government and education advice.

“We’re working as hard as we can and trying our best, folks!”

Plans to allow older pupils to finish off coursework have been cancelled as the government presses its advice to ‘stay at home’.

However, schools are open to provide bagged lunches to pupils which will be taken away from the premises.

This will be available to every pupil, not just those entitled to free school meals, from noon to 1.30pm, from every school in the district.

Parents and carers whose children are at home are encouraged to sign up to their school’s Twitter account to keep up-to-date.

And they are encouraged to use online learning tools wherever possible.

Director of Children’s Services Robert Naylor said: “All of our schools have been in touch with their parent body about ways in which they intend that learning can continue through use of online learning platforms and giving out key tasks to young people for the week.

“Our schools are making use of things like Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams as well as the Glow infrastructure, so learning will continue in both primary and secondary sectors.”

Where possible, he said, arrangements have been made to help families who do not have WiFi or access to technology.

He added that there will be “glitches” as some teachers will inevitably become ill or unable to work and the situation will constantly be changing.