Children and young people should now be back to their full normal hours of in person learning. However, some pupils may need support to build back up to their normal hours. It might be you, your child, or the school or nursery that feel your child should have a phased return.
In this section we have answered some questions about attendance at school and nursery during coronavirus. If you have a question that we have not answered, please get in touch with our helpline.
All children aged three and four, and some children aged two, are entitled to 600 hours per year of free early learning and childcare. The Scottish Government had planned to make it the law for local authorities to increase this to 1140 hours from August 2020.
Due to the coronavirus, this deadline has been postponed so local authorities can focus on responding to the current situation. The Scottish Government intend to pass a law to change the date to August 2021. When this change becomes law, we will update this page.
Nurseries should now be back to offering 600 hours of early learning and childcare for each eligible child this year. If your child used to attend nursery for more than 600 hours, they may not be able to attend for the same amount of time as usual while the nurseries build back up after the lockdown. Your nursery will keep you up to date with what they can offer your child.
If your child attends nursery in an area under lockdown or with a coronavirus protection level 4 this may result in your child not being able to attend nursery for their full normal hours for a while. Nurseries in these areas may need to put in place safety measures that will reduce the capacity of how many children can attend at any one time. If this becomes necessary, the nursery should contact you to explain what is happening.
Some local authorities in areas with a lower coronavirus protection level may already be offering children the 1140 hours of early learning and childcare. They are not legally required to do this yet. If your local authority is providing more funded hours to children, they need to do this fairly. Children with additional support needs should be offered the same number of minimum funded hours of early learning and childcare as their peers in the local area.
To find out more about additional support for learning in the early years, click on the link to our factsheet, below.
Children and young people should now be back to their full normal hours of in person learning. If you feel your child needs extra support with their return to school, it is important to speak with the school about this and what support they can offer. A plan should be put in place based on your child’s individual needs and you and your child should be involved in this.
The plan should include how to build up your child’s time at school so that they can attend full time when they are ready. Your child has a right to the support they need to fully benefit from their education and attend full time if they are able to. The school should also think about how they will support your child’s learning for the times they are not at school.
There are many things your child’s school or nursery can do to help them settle back in. This may include giving them extra support to understand and adjust to new school rules.
A big part of adjusting to school life during coronavirus will be you speaking to your child about any worries they have about being in school. Reach.scot, our website for children and young people, may be a helpful starting point for you to discuss returning to school with your child. You may also find Mindroom’s Back to School Toolkit helpful.
Your child’s school or nursery may feel your child should not yet attend full time. For example, they may feel your child would struggle to cope going back full time, and that they need time to build back up. Any decisions about your child not attending full time should be based on what is in your child’s best interests, and you and your child should be involved in decisions.
There should be a clear plan in place for building up to your child attending full time, with agreed steps to make sure they will have the support they need to do this. Your child has a right to the support they need to fully benefit from their education and to attend school full time if they are able to do so. The school should also think about how they will support your child’s learning for the times they are not at school.
If you do not agree that your child needs to attend part-time and feel they should be back full time, it is important to speak with the school about this. You could try putting your concerns in writing and ask how they feel this plan best meets your child’s needs.
If you are not able to reach an agreement with the school about the best approach for your child, there are several steps you can take. You can find out more in our factsheet Avoiding and solving problems.
Some pupils cannot always attend school regularly. For example, if they are ill or are caring for a family member at home. These pupils have the same right to an education as other pupils. The school should support them to attend whenever they can, and to access their learning in another way when they are not able to physically be at school.
When a pupil has missed a lot of school, it can be difficult to return. For example, they might be worried about their peers asking why they have been off school, or concerned about whether they will be able to catch up with what they have missed.
If you feel your child needs extra support to help them with the return to school, speak to the school about your concerns. If your child is still not able to attend school, find more advice on our page ‘Support for children who are learning remotely’.