Support for parents

Information about schools and childcare

On Friday 20 March 2020, all schools, and all local authority early learning and childcare settings closed to children and young people. There are exceptions in place to protect ‘key workers’ and vulnerable children.

The Scottish Government have asked local authorities to decide what learning and childcare arrangements for the children of key workers are most appropriate for local circumstances. They are also asking local authorities, where possible, to make provision available beyond the school day, in partnership with providers of out of school care and after school and holiday clubs.

Support for parents from Scottish Borders Council can be found here.

Further information for parents and carers from the Scottish Government is available here. Advice for parents and carers on managing the impact of COVID-19 on their child’s learning and family life is available here.

Parents should not rely on those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category (such as grandparents or family members with underlying conditions) for childcare. You can check who is in the at-risk category here.


Information if you think you may be a ‘key worker’

Scottish Borders Council now have critical provision in place so that children of key workers, such as NHS and social care staff, can still access learning and childcare if their parents absolutely must go to work. Find this information here.

Employers of key workers are being asked by the Scottish Government to consider if it is possible for workers to continue to provide essential services from home. To ensure childcare provision continues to be provided only where completely essential, parents who are key workers should therefore work with their employers to find a way to work from home if possible, or to seek alternative childcare – for example, from a relative or carer who is not a key worker.

The definition of ‘key worker’ has been broken up into three categories. If you fit into one of these three categories, your child may be eligible for learning or childcare provision from your local authority:

  • Category 1: Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID-19 response, and associated staff; Health and Care workers supporting life-threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; Energy suppliers (small numbers identified as top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.
  • Category 2: All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers, etc), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.
  • Category 3: All workers (private, public or third sector) without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to COVID-19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised).

Further guidance for key workers is available here.


Information for children in S4 to S6

The SQA have advised that no young person with coursework to complete should attend school to do so. 

For this year, schools and colleges will not be required to submit learner coursework for both Higher and Advanced Higher courses. While many students have already completed large elements of their coursework already, this will all be used as part of the evidence upon which teachers base their decisions to award appropriate grades.

National 5 coursework that has already been submitted will not be marked, and coursework that is due to be submitted in April or May is no longer required.

The SQA have confirmed that teachers will award pupils predicted grades based on a number of factors, such as formative work. These predicted grades will then be compiled by the SQA who will decide if any adjustments are required. Any final decision reached on pupils' grades will be subject to a free appeals process.

At this stage, there are no plans to allow students to sit exams in the autumn as part of the appeals process. If students are still unhappy with their grades following their appeal, they will be able to sit their 2020 exams in the 2021 exam period.

Further information, including a parent and pupil FAQ is available here


Information for children eligible for free school meals or with additional support needs

Scottish Borders Council have put provision in place for children who are eligible for free school meals, have additional support needs or are otherwise vulnerable or at risk. Further information can be found here.


Information for children who attend an independent school, nursery or other childcare

The Scottish Government have said that private or independent schools, nurseries or other childcare setting can remain open, provided they support only the children of key workers and vulnerable children and wherever possible, work with local authorities in their areas to do this.

Private childminding services can remain active, however, they will be subject to new public health guidance which the