Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for continuity in learning

Published: 30 Jul 2020
Last updated: 25 Mar 2021 - see all updates

Guidance to help local authorities, early learning centres and schools continue to support children and young people's learning during the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for continuity in learning
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds

The Scottish education system is based on the principles of excellence and equity. We continue to be committed to closing the poverty related attainment gap and to 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 phased return to schools.

As pupils return to school, 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 and take appropriate action to address any barriers and disadvantages that are identified, including the prioritisation of resources for this purpose

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.  =Education authorities should continue to provide free school meals to those entitled to them in attendance at school, and should continue alternative approaches such as vouchers and direct payments to those who are continuing to learn at home. Authorities have flexibility to utilise a range of approaches to ensure that individual pupils’ needs are met. 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.      

See: School meals -

First published: 30 Jul 2020 Last updated: 25 Mar 2021 -