Changes made to key worker application process

Schooling arrangements have been reviewed by Shetland Islands Council following news home learning will continue for most pupils until the middle of February.

The SIC says it has made changes to the key worker application process, insisting any children who can learn from home should do so.

Parents or carers yet to apply for key worker status – and requiring childcare for next week – are being asked to apply using the original application form, if “all alternative options” for childcare have been “explored and exhausted”.

Schools and nurseries are contacting previously approved key worker families to gather their requirements.

But even if key workers have successfully applied previously, they must reapply for 1st to 17th February to cover the extended period of disruption to regular schooling. The council is accepting applications until Monday 25th January.

It also says parents of children invited into school because of their support needs have been contacted with arrangements outlined up to 17th February.

For some the arrangements are expected to remain the same, but the council warns there may be changes for others.

One day likely to require some forward planning from parents is next Wednesday, which would have been the day after Up-Helly-A’, if the festival was going ahead.

But the 27th is still a public holiday, meaning schools and nurseries are closed to all pupils and staff.

Director of Children’s Services Helen Budge said: “We have revised our original application form to make sure we gather as much information as possible from families, to ensure that only those children who absolutely need to are in school and early learning and childcare settings.

“Unfortunately, this means that there is one form for the week beginning 25th January and another, revised, form for the period between 1st and 17th February. I hope this is not too confusing.

“If parents or carers are struggling with remote learning, I would encourage them to contact their school or early learning and childcare setting in the first instance.

“I do not expect parents to replicate the school day at home. Remote learning can consist of both online and offline learning opportunities, and getting outside when you can is good for everyone’s wellbeing.”


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