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CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING

Wednesday 25th March 2020 – Latest Update

SQA update
Just a reminder about yesterday’s SQA update which can be found on their website. The key points to note are as follows:
* No learner coursework to be submitted for Higher and Advanced Higher courses
* National 5 coursework should not be submitted from now on
* Coursework should still be considered as part of the process of estimating grades
* Further details about the certification process will be provided “as soon as possible”
If you have not already done so, we would suggest that you post this information on your website/social media.

We await further advice about the details. Meanwhile, it is likely that you are fielding calls from disappointed young people who would have hoped that their coursework would have had a positive influence on their grades. Please ask young people and families to bear in mind that this work is not wasted and the quality of this work should contribute to the decisions about estimates.

UCAS
The university admissions service, UCAS, has announced that it is to give students more time to make decisions about their choice of university. The move has been prompted by the need to create a period of stability for both universities and students following the unprecedented events of the past week in response to the COVID19 pandemic.
UCAS has said that it expects the admissions cycle to run broadly similarly to previous years, with the flexibility for applicants to make choices throughout the rest of the year and a clearing process over the summer. The website of the Scottish Funding Council carries this information here.

Council responds to Government lockdown

In light of the UK and Scottish Government’s decision to begin a three-week lockdown in order to delay the spread of the Coronavirus, the Highland Council has taken the decision to cancel the provision of school meals today. The current format of provision would involve staff and children gathering at school premises and this would go against national advice and directives.

The Council’s Strategic Group will consider the announcement first thing this morning and the implications this will have for the delivery of essential services and the provision of welfare and humanitarian aid in a way that complies with the Government’s directive and protects life and our NHS services.

More information will be issued once this important step has been discussed with our Local and Regional Resilience Partners.

We have had further advice from Scottish Government that NO pupils should attend school to complete SQA work. I know that this may cause some of you some anxiety but please be assured that the SQA will find a way to ensure that you are certificated fairly and that you are not disadvantaged. Public health clearly has to be the number one priority and this is the right decision.

We will be in touch as we get more information but in the meantime, if you have work that you can do at home, you could continue with this. Please stay in touch with your teachers through Google.

Stay safe and well and do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have. If you are unable to reach us by phone, please email your queries/concerns to ira@highland.gov.uk

Skills Development Scotland Message for parents/carers and pupils

Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the closure of the school, Skills Development cannot deliver careers services face to face, but they are still there to help. Your child can contact their Schools Careers Adviser, Joan Duncan for career information, advice and guidance at joan.duncan@sds.co.uk or visit myworldofwork.co.uk.

You can also still access their careers services. Call your local centre or speak one of our qualified advisers. Find your nearest centre at myworldofwork.co.uk/centres

You can also find their services for parents/carers online at myworldofwork.co.uk and www.mykidscareer.com

We are awaiting an official statement from the Scottish Government regarding the SQA exams. We realise that this is a worrying time for all of our senior pupils and as soon as we are given more information we will let you know. Please check the following link for the most up to date information:

https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/93577.html

Due to staffing levels we will be closed to all S1 and S2 pupils on Thursday and Friday this week. This is an ongoing situation which will be reviewed regularly. Please check our website for updates.

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