Edinburgh Learns – Teaching, Learning & GIRFEC during school closure. Guidance for Parents & Carers

Parents please note the instructions in Section 3 regarding Access for Digital learning.


Introduction. 2

Teaching and Learning at Home. 2

Primary Schools & Special Schools (Primary). 2

Secondary schools & Special Schools (Secondary). 3

Access Guidelines for Digital Learning. 3

Skills Development Scotland. 4

Early Learning and Childcare – What to Expect When Your Child Is Not Able to Attend Nursery. 4

Interim GIRFEC and Key Adult Guidance. 5

19th March 2020


The Corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic has resulted in drastic, short term changes to how we deliver all services, including education.  All school staff want to continue to offer the best service possible.  This now includes taking actions to prepare for children learning at home for the foreseeable future.  Many schools in Edinburgh can deliver learning by digital means, though not all schools are able to do this yet.  Each school has set up its own systems to share learning: digital, traditional or a mix of both.

The most important thing we are trying to do is to minimise the spread of the virus; to look after our families, ourselves and our communities.  With that in mind, we have created the following guidance to ensure that schools will continue to deliver education and ensure support for children and their families.

It is really important that children are supported in discussing any worries, or concerns, they may have.  Please, check-in with your child regularly about how they are feeling about the changes that have occurred e.g.  being away from school, friends and being out of their normal routine.

We realise we won’t be able to provide exactly the same learning at home as in school right away, but we will do our best to provide a quality service, and will update guidance at school and authority level as frequently as we can. 

We are also aware that the children of Key Workers will attend Hub Schools/Centres for learning/childcare in the city, to allow their parents to work.  School age children of key workers should bring their school work or learning device with them.  Additional activities will also be provided.

Teaching and Learning at Home 

Primary Schools & Special Schools (Primary)

  • Office 365 is the online space we use for staff and learners in City of Edinburgh schools. Many students already access this space. The school website will let you know if learning materials should be accessed in this way.
  • Office 365 can be accessed through a browser, and also through the various Microsoft apps like Teams, OneNote, Word etc.  Students requiring access can log in through a browser using the link on the Digital Learning Team website and navigating to the ‘Learners’ menu  https://digitallearningteam.org/ and clicking on ‘Office 365 Login’.
  • Student login information is their Scottish Candidate Number (a nine-digit number provided by their school) and password, both provided by the school.
  • Access through apps on mobile devices requires an additional login step at the beginning of the process which asks to sign in using ‘your work, school, or Microsoft account’. Learners should enter their ScottishCandidateNumber@ea.edin.sch.uk – e.g. 123456789@ea.edin.sch.uk – then they will be asked to enter their Scottish Candidate Number and password in the usual way.
  • Any issues regarding usernames and passwords should be directed to the school admin email address:  admin@st-johns.edin.sch.uk
  • As we actively encourage learners to engage with digital learning tools we would like to highlight the need to stay safe online.  The Digital Learning Team website has a section for Parents/Carers.  Here you will find a range of resources to support you in addressing online safety with your child.  Learners can access a range of interactive resources within the Learners section of the website.

What Can You Expect?

What to do if you have a question or concern?

  • We appreciate that the current arrangements cannot provide you, and your child, with daily contact or feedback from school staff.  If you have any issue related to your child’s learning that you would like help with, please communicate this through your school admin email address. This should will be visible on the school website and will be formatted as ‘admin@NAMEOFSCHOOL.edin.sch.uk’. Please check individual school websites for the exact address.

Skills Development Scotland

School leavers can still arrange 1:1 guidance with SDS by calling 0131 718 2040 and leaving contact details on the answer machine.  An adviser will then follow-up to arrange a telephone appointment.

Early Learning and Childcare – What to Expect When Your Child Is Not Able to Attend Nursery

  • Your nursery will provide guidance and information to you as to how to best support your child’s learning through play at home.
  • Guidance on developing appropriate experiences and activities will be shared with you by your nursery.
  • Children at this stage in their development learn best through real-life experiences, not formal teaching.
  • Your setting will continue to update and build on previous experiences over time.  Individual nurseries will share this information in a way that best suits their local community.
  • Nurseries will share books and resources that you may need to support your child.  Many activities will require everyday items that you may already have around the house, which we call ‘Loose Parts’ e.g. bottle tops, cardboard tubes and boxes.
  • Research tells us that the best way to support our children’s learning at this stage is time and attention from an adult, lots of spoken language and reading.
  • If your nursery uses eLearning journals please share your children’s activities and experiences through photos and comments.
  • If your nursery uses paper journals they will communicate how best to gather your child’s learning journey at home.

Interim GIRFEC and Key Adult Guidance

  • Primary Schools: Support will usually be provided by the class teacher, Depute Head or Head Teacher.
  • Special Schools – Primary: Support will usually be provided by the class teacher.
  • Secondary Schools: Support will usually be provided by Pupil Support Leaders (Guidance teachers).
  • Special Schools – Secondary: Support will usually be provided by the Pupil Support Leaders or other identified Key Adult
  • The relevant member of staff will review the support needs of the young people that they work with.  This will be done through conversation with their Depute Head Teacher and/or Headteacher.
  • The relevant member of staff will then establish what support is required for children and young people during the two weeks before the Easter holiday and what contact they need to make  to offer this support.  
  • Some children and young people will need a higher level of support during this time. Where support has been prioritised for before the Easter holiday, the relevant member of staff will contact families to confirm agreed frequency of contact, days and times.  This may be daily, twice-weekly or weekly according to need and may take place by ‘phone, but video call may also be used where possible. 
  • If a child or young person has an allocated social worker, the relevant member of staff will agree with the social worker which of them will take on a lead role to make contact with the child/young person before Easter; this contact may take place by ‘phone or video call where possible.
  • Where a pupil has a Child or Young Person’s Plan to support them, the relevant member of staff will ensure that key actions on the Plan have been completed.
  • The relevant member of staff will contact the parents/carers, of those pupils with an identified need, to discuss ongoing support in the absence of access to school-based supports.  Where there are significant concerns, the relevant member of staff will contact the relevant partner agency e.g  CAMHS, the child or young person’s GP, Educational Psychologist, as appropriate to establish the supports in place for these pupils.  They will also give consideration to how pupils accessing counselling can continue to access this support virtually.

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