Children from disadvantaged backgrounds
The Scottish education system is based on the principles of Excellence and Equity. The Scottish government continues to be committed to closing the poverty related attainment gap and the principle of equity. In line with the principle of equity, learners from disadvantaged backgrounds should be offered specific and targeted support and access to learning as part of the staged re-opening of schools.
As we begin to move into the recovery phase, schools and local authorities will need to assess the impact of the crisis on the health, wellbeing and learning of disadvantaged children and young people. They will also need to consider how effectively they provide an enhanced package of support if required, including the use of, and support for digital learning to support successful engagement and avoid the risk of stigma. See Coronavirus (COVID-19) reopening schools guidance for information on support for digital learning.
See Pupil Equity Funding: national operational guidance 2020 for information on funding available to support learners in the recovery phase including third sector partners and other agencies (e.g. home link workers, counselling services, youth workers.
Access to free school meals and school clothing grants
Free school meals and school clothing grants are a vital measure that can help to support children and young people engage in learning and support attendance at school. As we move toward a blended learning model with children and young people learning in a mix of locations, it will be necessary for the provision of free school meals in this context to be considered as part of local authority development plans, in light of health protection advice and family circumstances.
Authorities may want to consider prioritising provision for children who are eligible for free school meals through their parents and carers being in receipt of qualifying benefits. It is recommended that local authorities provide a clear approach that enables parents and carers who would not ordinarily be eligible to apply for the universal provision in light of their financial circumstances.
Read quotes from children and young people about learning during lockdown at the Children's Parliament website.