The Council has been working at pace to set up centres for the children of key workers.
Anyone who has applied for a place at one of the key worker hubs in the Highland Council area will be contacted by the end of today (Wednesday 25th) with confirmation of the arrangements that have been put in place.
The centres are expected to be hosted at the following schools: Millburn Academy and the IRA in Inverness; Dingwall Academy; Portree High School; Lochaber High School; Ullapool Academy; Golspie High School, Noss Primary and Miller Academy.
These centres will be staffed by volunteers drawn from Council staff, all of whom will have been checked to ensure that they are enrolled in the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG). Please note the following key points about allocation of places in the Hubs for the children of key workers:
- Please be aware that the number of places we will be able to offer in the Highland Council area is limited and so not everyone who has requested a place will get one. We need to prioritise for those directly involved in addressing the health crisis linked with Covid-19 and others involved in the associated emergency response. However, we will be working hard to increase capacity over the coming days and weeks.
- Requesting a place in a Hub should be a choice of last resort. You should only request a place when you have exhausted all other possible means of providing childcare for your child(ren) while you are at work. The Scottish Government has issued public health advice about this and expects parents/carers to have explored all other options, such as using partners who are not key workers, using older children to supervise younger children, seeking changed shift patterns to avoid the need for childcare and so on.
- Children of key workers in age groups 0-5 will be placed in nursery settings and wherever possible, will remain with their existing childcare providers.
- The hubs will not replicate a school setting. Children will be expected to bring in the work and materials that have been allocated to them through their own school and they will be supervised whilst they work though these. Where practical and safe, age appropriate activities will also be arranged. Social distancing and health and hygiene practices will be in place – albeit in recognition that with young, energetic, children this will be a challenge to maintain at all times.
- It remains the case that home is the safest place for everyone, including children.
The most recent government information on Key Workers can be found here: https://news.gov.scot/news/supporting-coronavirus-key-workers (external link)