Highland Council asked by Ross-shire MSP how it plans using extra Scottish Government cash for return to schools
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EXTRA funding to smooth the way for the return of pupils and teachers to schools has been welcomed by a Ross-shire MSP.
And Gail Ross has written to Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson asking how the local authority intends using its share of the funding of around £50m for the whole of Scotland.
The Scottish Government has ring-fenced the money for local authorities to support pupils and teachers return to school safely.
It can be used for the recruitment of additional teachers and support staff for the academic year 2020/21.
It aims to help schools ramp up support for children and young people as they return to face-to-face education and help to mitigate for any learning loss.
It is expected that this will provide enough funding for approximately 850 extra teachers and give local authorities the flexibility to bring in around 200 support staff in schools across Scotland, the MSP claims.
An additional £20m of funding will be available to local authorities to help address the additional requirements of schools given the need to change operations because of Covid-19. This allocation "recognises the extremely valuable work of school cleaners, facilities management and school transport staff, who are essential to the successful delivery of education in Scotland".
Ms Ross said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government have announced this additional funding as its clear that pupils and staff will need additional support in returning to school and settling in to the 'new normal'.
“Many parents and carers have raised concerns with me that pupils will need additional support to ensure that they can transition well into school life and to help with catching up with learning whilst schools have been closed. I have written to Highland Council to ask them what they intend to do with the available funding to ensure that learners can access the support that they need.”
“Parents, staff and learners may all have concerns about how schools will be kept hygienic when they return in August. I’m pleased to see a commitment from the Scottish Government of additional money to support this.”
In a letter to Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson, she asks what plans the local authority to use the money money and how it plans "to assess the need for additional support for learners to ensure that as much support as possible is available when schools re-open".
She added: "I also welcome the news today that there is to be an additional fund which will be available to local authorities to support school cleaners, facilities management and transport staff; again, I would be most obliged if you could share with me how Highland Council will utilise this funding."