I am pleased to confirm that West Lothian schools and Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings will open full-time in August, following the First Minister's announcement today.
We have been planning to allow pupils to safely return to class full-time in August once this confirmation was received from the Scottish Government.
In accordance with government advice, a phased return of pupils will allow staff time to familiarise our children and young people with the measures necessary to ensure the wellbeing of everyone in the school.
Our phasing plan for remainder of the first week is as follows:
Tuesday 11 August
In-service day - staff only
In-service day - staff only
Wednesday 12 August
P1 (am only),
P2, P3, P4 (Full day)
S1, S2, S3
Thursday 13 August
P1 (am only),
P5, P6, P7(Full day)
S1, S4, S5, S6
Friday 14 August
Pupils at Beatlie, Cedarbank, Ogilvie and Pinewood schools will follow the same phasing plan as above.
On Wednesday 12 August and Thursday 13 August, pupils who are not in attendance at school will be provided with home learning.
Schools may stagger daily start and finish times to reduce congestion at the school gates, and individual schools will be in touch to confirm local arrangements for this and other services such as breakfast clubs.
The return to full-time education was conditional on infection rates being sufficiently low to continue to control the virus, public health and testing systems being in place and protective measures and risk assessments being carried out in schools.
West Lothian Council is putting in place the necessary risk assessments and protective measures in each school to allow this to happen. We will be following the Education Recovery Guidance, which has been agreed by the Scottish Government and COSLA based on the latest scientific advice.
A report on the full re-opening will be considered by the Education Executive on Tuesday 4 August. This will be published online by Friday 31 July, and you can access it here.
An update on school transport will be issued shortly.
Once again, I would like to thank you for your patience during this period of uncertainty.
All of our schools are looking forward to welcoming pupils back, and working in partnership with parents and carers to ensure their wellbeing, and support their learning.
Dr. Elaine Cook
Depute Chief Executive
West Lothian Council
FAQs update - 7 August
You must have a valid bus pass to be able to use free school transport from Wednesday 12 August.
Pupils using free school transport must hold a pass for their specific route to school to be able to travel.
Test and Protect contact tracing means that only pupils registered for the specific route will be allowed on the bus.
Existing free school travel passes held by current P2 to P7 and S2 to S4 pupils are still valid for the new term.
All new passes will be delivered to pupils' home addresses by Tuesday 11 August.
Anyone who has still to apply for a new pass should do so immediately at Applications for Free School Transport
Parents/carers who apply for free school transport after Friday 7 August may not receive their passes before the start of the new term.
Due to COVID 19, the use of 10 journey tickets and onboard cash has been suspended and a new cashless process has now been implemented.
Parents of non-entitled pupils travelling on fare-paying routes must now pre-book and pre-pay for journeys in advance.
For more details, please visit Fare Paying School Transport
The second round of placements for Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) or nursery pupils, for those who applied after the deadline or changed their application, will be completed by Monday 10 August.
We would like to thank parents/carers for their patience while this process is completed.
Parents/carers will receive confirmation of their place by Monday 10 August, and staff from your child's ELC will be touch soon afterwards to arrange an induction visit. Please do not take your child to their ELC until you have this confirmation over their induction date.
All council ELC settings resume on Wednesday 12 August and parents/carers of current ELC pupils should send their children as per their scheduled days from 12 August onwards.
Guidance has been produced setting out expectations and key requirements relating to home to school transport for parents/carers and pupils in light of the COVID 19 pandemic. The protocol draws on national guidance and is aligned with Public Health guidance in order that consistent practice can be applied across school transport provision in West Lothian. For more details please visit School Transport Parent/Carer & Pupil guidance
Guidance has been produced setting out expectations and key requirements relating to home to school transport for parents/carers and pupils in light of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The protocol draws on national guidance and is aligned with Public Health guidance in order that consistent practice can be applied across school transport provision in West Lothian.
For more details please visit School Transport Parent/Carer & Pupil guidance
We have been working to implement systems removing the need for any touch points on machines when paying for and collecting food from school canteens. This can be done by downloading an app called Fusion Mobile or by using a contactless card provided by your secondary school.
You can download the App today but please note that you will not be able to order food or pay for items until Tuesday 11 August.
Fusion Mobile App
Downloading this app will allow pupils to pre-order and pay for items from their school canteen using their mobile phones. Pupils will now be able to use the Fusion Mobile app which is integrated with iPayImpact (iPay). This works the same way as before with parents/carers being able to top up their child's account via iPay but will now allow pupils to view their balance from their phone and place their orders in advance of collection.
Information on how pupils can download the app is provided below and pupils can register their account when downloaded using their GLOW email address and by creating their own account password. More details on how you can connect to your child's account through iPay is also provided below. For further information on iPay please also visit parentsportal.scot
'Contactless cards' will also be issued to pupils as an alternative to the mobile phone app. These new contactless cards will be unique to each pupil and will only display a pupil's first and surname alongside the name of their school. The cards use a proximity reader similar to other contactless card payment methods. The cards for each pupil are linked to their parent/carer iPay account and these can be topped up as normal through iPay. Payments are now able to be made using the card without the need for any touch points. Pupils will be able to view their account balance at any time whenever they use one of the card reader machines.
Just like ordinary contactless cards, it is really important that these are always kept in a safe place by pupils to ensure these are only ever used by the card owner. We recommend that when these cards are being used they are topped up frequently and in small amounts as a safeguarding measure in case a card is ever lost. Any lost cards need to be reported to the Catering Manager in the school who will deactivate the lost card and issue a replacement. A cost of £5 will be incurred for a replacement which will be deducted from the account.
If pupils are using the Fusion Mobile app we also strongly recommend that parent/carers keep hold of the contactless card to reduce the chances of this getting lost at school as the app and card should not be used together but instead be an option of preferred payment to be used.
Although we currently do not have the ability for orders to be placed in advance out with the new mobile phone app, this is something that is currently being developed and will be available in the near future enabling all iPay users to place orders via a web browser.
Guide for Pupils on How to Download the New Fusion Mobile App
An email will be issued to all parents/carers with an iPay account early next week. This will contain personalised sign up codes.
Download the app
You can download the app by scanning the relevant QR code for your phone, or by searching 'Fusion Mobile' on your app store.
If you have problems finding the app, head on over to Fusion Online for the download links.
Create an account
When you have downloaded the app, you will need to create your account that can be used to pre-order your food. On the login page, tap on the Sign-up option.
Next, either click on the Scan Code button and follow the on-screen instructions to scan your unique onboarding code or you can type in your code.
Now please enter your GLOW e-mail address. Enter a password and choose a security question, providing an answer that you will remember (You'll need this if you ever forget your password).
Tap on the Register option and you'll receive an activation e-mail shortly afterwards. Follow the instructions in the e-mail to complete your registration. If you do not get the email please check you junk / spam email folder.
Once activated, you can log into the app and start placing orders.
What can you do in the app?
Check your balance
No longer do you need to queue at a device in the school to check your balance; you can now check your balance at home or on the school bus, at any time of day.
Order your food in advance
Choose when you're ordering for, where you want to collect your food from, and then select from our available menus.
Bring your phone with you to collect your meal to show your unique order number and our canteen staff will have your food ready and waiting for you to collect.
View your upcoming meal selections
If you've placed multiple pre-orders, it's easy to check what you've ordered from within the app. The app will show you all your meal choices along with your unique order number, so that when it's time to collect your food all you need to do is turn up and show your order number.
Do you have more questions about the cashless system?
If you have any queries which you do not feel have been fully answered below, please contact your school office who will be able to help.
What if I need help with the app?
Please contact your school office if there is anything at all you need help with. You can also visit Fusion Online help section to view a range of articles that might also be helpful.
Does the Fusion Mobile app cost any money to download or use?
- The app is free to both download and use however a connection to the internet is required for both. Internet charges may apply if not using a Wi-Fi connection.
Do I need to pay for one of the new contactless cards?
- The first card will be provided at no cost. If a card is lost there will be a small fee for the new card (replacement cards are £5).
What happens if my child loses their card?
- If a card is lost this should be reported to the school office immediately so that the card can be deactivated. We strongly recommend that our parents/carers top up their iPay accounts frequently and in small amounts where their child is using a contactless card in order to mitigate any financial loss resulting from cards falling into the wrong hands. These cards will only work on school machines for canteen purchases and will not work out-with the school. A new card can be reordered and activated by the school if lost cards are not found or returned.
What personal data relating to me and my child will be used?
- Our schools currently use iPayImpact (iPay) for all school online payments. The Fusion Mobile app uses the same provider, allowing for the app and iPay to be integrated. If you choose to use the mobile phone app as your child's contactless catering method no new additional personal information will be requested or required (other than the school GLOW email address for your child when they are registering their account after downloading the app). Personal information will not be used any differently than it is now in relation to the authentication and management of your iPay account.
The contactless cards are created by Inprint Services, the Council's in-house print management and reprographics service. The only information we will share with Inprint to create your child's unique card is your child's name and school.
How do I link my iPay account with my child's Fusion Mobile app or contactless card?
- You do not need to do anything, this will be done automatically when your child signs up for the app. The sign-up detail provided identifies your child linked to your iPay account and in turn makes this link for you. The contactless card is issued pre-linked to your iPay account so no additional action is required.
FAQs - Re-opening of Schools and Early Years Establishments
- All West Lothian schools and Early Learning and Childcare settings will re-open to pupils from Wednesday 12 August, with arrangements in place to ensure safety for both pupils and staff
- Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings will resume from 12 August offering all eligible children up to 1,000 hours over 50 weeks
- Individual plans will be put in place for Additional Support Needs (ASN) pupils based on their individual needs. Schools will communicate with parents separately
- Your school will contact you to provide details of when your child/children should return to school
- Details are available on this page (see above).
- Physical distancing and face coverings for pupils will not be required in school or on dedicated school transport in most circumstances
- Secondary schools will encourage maintain distance where possible, especially with senior pupils as an additional precautionary measure
- Adults working in schools - including teachers and support staff - should maintain two metres distance from each other and pupils, and wear face coverings when this is not possible, such as for extended face-to-face interactions
- Any pupil or staff member who wishes to wear a face covering can do so
- Enhanced hygiene measures will be in place - including regular cleaning of touchpoints
- Hand washing and cleaning in schools will help to reduce the risk of transmission
- Hand washing or sanitising will be available at entry/exit points to allow all building users to wash/sanitise their hands as they enter leave the building at the start and end of the school day, at lunch/break times
- Handwashing and sanitising will also be available at each classroom entrance, and dining hall entrances
- Public health messages, such as avoiding touching your face or discouraging contact such as hand greets and hugs, will be reinforced
- Mitigation measures such as hand sanitising, greater ventilation and improved cleaning regimes will be used to minimise risk
- Pupils will be kept in the same groups where possible and large gatherings of children in schools, such as assemblies, will be avoided. More outdoor activities are planned
- Face coverings for most pupils are not mandatory (those clinically advised to wear a face covering are an exception)
- Where adults cannot keep 2m distance and are interacting face to face for 15 minutes or more, coverings should be worn
- Anyone who chooses to wear a face covering in school can do so
Arrangements for school transport
School transport arrangements are currently being finalised for the new term starting from Wednesday 12 August.
Anyone who is eligible for free school transport and has not yet applied should do so as soon as possible prior to 6 August 2020 at Applications for Free School Transport
Applications should be made for pupils who are going into P1, S1, S5 & S6 to ensure that the pupils have their passes in time for the new school year.
All other pupils should retain their current passes for use in the 2020/21 school session.
If a pupil has lost their pass, an application for a replacement should be made as soon as possible prior to 6 August 2020 also using the e-form above.
In line with national Test and Protect guidelines, there is a requirement to record of every pupil registered for each bus, therefore no pupil will be allowed to travel on school transport unless they are registered in advance and show the necessary bus pass for the route on the day.
Pupils who do not have a valid bus pass will not be permitted to travel, and pupils with valid passes will only be able to travel on the route that they have been assigned.
Parents/carers will receive confirmation of route details following their application.
Non-entitled pupils travelling on fare-paying routes must now book and pre-pay journeys in advance. Pupils will not be able to travel unless they have pre-booked and have a valid ticket for the journey. This will be administered by individual schools and further details of the specific process will be provided as soon as possible
Pupils attending Additional Support Needs schools will be contacted individually over transport arrangements.
We would also encourage parents to consider if they could active travel to school, using foot "Park and Stride", bike or scooter if possible.
School meals will be served as normal, however lunch and break times will be staggered to minimise contact between pupils
- On Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 August school meals will be provided as normal. However school meals will not be provided for P1 pupils on these days as P1 pupils are in school for a short time as part of their transition arrangements. On Friday 14 August, P1-P3 and those entitled to free school meals will be able to collect their lunch as normal
- All pupils can bring in their own snacks and lunches from home. All pupils will stay on campus over lunches unless a parent/carer requests they return home
- Breakfast clubs will resume with each school confirming their local arrangements
- All pupils will be asked not to share food or drinks
- All schools will consider staggered break and lunch times. However, in line with guidance, staggering break/lunch times to the extent that they reduce time for learning and teaching will be avoided
- There will be no mid-morning catering provision within secondary schools. Breakfast and lunch is still provided.
- Wherever possible, efforts will be made to keep pupils within the same groups for the duration of the school day. All schools will consider how to reduce the movement of groups across different parts of the school estate where possible. In particular school assemblies and other types of large gatherings will not take place
- Out of school care services on council premises will be supported to re-open from 12 August, subject to compliance with Scottish Government guidance and completion of the necessary risk assessments. Parents/carers should contact their Out of School Care provider for more details
- Parents/carers should not enter school premises without permission from the school or an appointment which should be booked directly with schools. Anyone entering school premises should at all times maintain 2 meters physical distancing from school staff and other parents and observe the guidance
- Allowances will be made for parents of Early Years and P1 pupils in particular as part of transition arrangements. Individual schools will provide parents/carers with information on these local arrangements
- Exceptions may be made for parents or pupils with a disability or additional support needs, as long as these maintain 2 metres physical distancing. If parents/carers have any questions, they should contact their school directly
- School start/close times may be staggered for different year groups to reduce congestion
Individual schools will confirm local arrangements directly with parents/carers
- Yes, school uniform should be worn as normal
- Yes. Please only bring essentials and items should not be shared with other pupils
- Yes, outdoors where possible. Schools will advise parents on any kit required and how classes will take place
- In primary schools, groups will be based on classes
- In the broad General Education in Secondary Schools (S1-3) groups will be based on whole year groups, whilst minimising contacts as far as possible
- The Senior Phases in Secondary Schools (S4-6) will be treated as a group
- Specific measures will be in place at each school and schools will communicate directly with parents/carers
- No pupils or staff should attend school if they show any of the main symptoms of COVID-19. Should anyone experience symptoms they should follow the Test and Protect procedures. The most common symptoms are a new continuous cough, fever/high temperature and loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste
- Pupils who are clinically vulnerable will be able to return to school unless they receive specific medical advice not do so. Parents/cares should liaise with their GP and School if they have any questions
Requests for additional protections will be supported where possible for Black and Ethnic Minority pupils and staff due to evidence of increased risk. Parents/carers should speak to their school directly