As you know, the First Minister announced at the weekend that there will be some changes to the way that schools return after the Christmas break. Tomorrow (Tuesday 22nd Dec) a letter will be issued to all parents and carers of children and young people in Highland Council schools to give you the key information about this. Please do not contact the school today about the new arrangements, to allow school leaders and staff to focus on the new term ahead.
Many families may not be aware of the benefits available to you if your family is in need of support. Some support is assessed on income whereas others are based on different factors, e.g. health. Here are some links for you:
- Local Advisers in the Council’s Welfare Team and Citizens Advice can explain much more about all the available help, completing forms, and when appropriate, challenging decisions. These services are free, confidential and available for everyone living here in the Highlands. The number is 0800 090 1004 or find out more in the “Worrying about Money” guide
- Free School meals and assistance with clothing
- Universal Credit for people in and out of work to help with living and rent costs
- £500 Self Isolation Grant- this is available to people who will lose income, and can’t work from home, when asked to self-isolate by Test and Protect. Please follow the link for more information
- Council Tax Reducation- you can reduce the council tax bill by up to 100% for home owners and those who rent their home. Please note that Scottish Water chargers aren’t reduced and still need to be paid.
- Coronavirus helpline: Contact the free helpline 0300 303 1362 for advice on volunteering, or getting help with food, welfare or business support.
- The Social Security Minister has stated that more than 190 000 children will be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment. Applications for the new benefit, which will start paying low-income families in February 2021, are open from Monday 9th November.
- Here is a link to further information- https://www.gov.scot/policies/social-security/scottish-child-payment/
Hilton Primary Parents and Friends group are collaborating with the school to create some beautiful Christmas Hampers this term. We will be selling Raffle Tickets for these Hampers. The proceeds will be split 50:50 between School Fund and HPPF funds.
We will have three themed hampers this year, please see below for details. Anything that you can donate from the list below is gratefully received. You can send donations in with your child to school or you can deliver any donations to the box in reception. Please be reassured that we will handle any donations carefully, following current Covid Guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety. Please donate any items by Friday 4th December.
- Classic Christmas
- Mulled wine
- Christmas pudding
- Mince pies
- Selection box
- Christmas Crackers
- Children’s hamper
- Selection box
- mini board games
- Hot chocolate
- Chocolate gold coins
- Christmas mug
- Family hamper
- Fruit cake
- Christmas pudding
- Mulled wine
- Family board game
- Cheese selection
Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday 1st December. Tickets will be £1 per ticket. Please put money in an envelope and send in with your child. Clearly mark the envelope with your name, child’s name and class and phone number and how many tickets you require. It would help us greatly if you couldplease send in the correct change. If any change is required it will take a few days, as we will be unable to open envelopes for 72 hours as per Covid Guidelines.
Please see letter below, which we have received from the Highland Council.
Executive Chief Officer – Education and Learning: Nicky Grant
Education and Learning Service, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX
8 September 2020
Pupils encouraged to wear additional layers in class
You will be aware that Covid-19 is still present within our community. As the risk of transmission of the virus is greater indoors when compared to outdoor settings, the Scottish Government currently advises:
“Settings should ensure adequate levels of ventilation. Where centralised or local mechanical ventilation is present, re-circulatory systems should be adjusted to full fresh air.”
Therefore, to reduce the risk indoors, our schools are currently operating with windows open to allow as much fresh air into classrooms as possible. This is to ensure our school spaces are as safe as possible for our pupils and staff.
As there is a need to prioritise infection control over thermal comfort, we are encouraging children to wear an additional fleece or a jacket in the classroom if they wish to do so. We have relaxed dress codes in our schools as we try to make the learning environment as comfortable as possible while reducing the risk of infection in the school setting.
We will continue to work hard across the school estate to improve heating output at all our schools, but we realise this may not provide the expected levels of comfort. It is hoped that the Scottish Government will provide further guidance prior to the arrival of winter as the science evolves around the current Covid-19 crisis.
The Council is continuing to work closely with Public Health in relation to all health matters and be directed by national guidance. You can view our webpage http://www.highland.gov.uk/backtoschool for updates, advice, and access to our frequently asked questions document which is reviewed regularly. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school.
Executive Chief Officer
The Annual Data update forms will be going home with your children today. Please check them over making any applicables changes, then sign and date them and return them with your child to their class teacher.
Following updated advice on Coronavirus issued by The Scottish Government, please see link below.
Dear Parents / Carers,
Please find below some final information to assist you and your child with the return to Hilton over the next few days.
Arriving back at School
Please check your child’s google classroom today (P5-7) or by tomorrow (P1-4). Your teacher will have shared pictures of the arrival area that your child is expected to come into and for further information specific to your child’s class. We will have some visuals at the gate to help you on arrival too. Your child’s new teacher will be out to greet them each morning. Please remember pupils should not come into the school grounds before the teacher calls them in.
Children will be met at the gates and escorted to their new class by their new class teacher and returned to the gate at the end of the day. Children will sanitise their hands on entry to the school buildings and wash hands on entry to the classrooms.
Parents/ carers are reminded to please not enter the gate (with the exception of P1 parents to lead their child to the assembly point) and to stay at least 2 metres away from each other, and teaching staff at all times.
Your child’s class teacher will post information about PE days in the next week, once we have this arranged. No kit is required for this week.
If you are having any issues getting on to your child’s Google Classroom then please email Kathryn.email@example.com and I will do my best to assist.
Please entitle subject of email WEDNESDAY if your child is in P5-7 or THURSDAY if your child is in P1-4 so that I can prioritise support to those who need it tonight.
We would encourage parents to check in on Google Classroom regularly as this will be the mode of communication Class Teachers will use to share information specific to their class with you.
Please ensure any money for school lunches is in a named envelope or bag. Try to have exact change for lunches where possible.
Please be aware that catering staff will not be opening the envelopes until 72 hours as per Covid policy, so please don’t expect change to be returned until the 72 hours are up. If possible try to pay for the week.
All children should bring their own snack for morning playtime as the canteen will not be running tuck shop at the moment.
P5-7 children’s medication can be delivered to the school any time on Wednesday 12th August.
P1-4 children’s medication can be delivered to the school any time on Thursday 13th August. (if you have pupils across the school it is okay to deliver all medication on Wednesday, but we must have your child’s medication if they are in school.)
Please come to the main reception, please take care and avoid gathering if there are many people waiting. All adults will be expected to socially distance while waiting and only one adult should enter the reception area at a time.
Adults will be expected to use the anti-bacterial gel and then complete the medication form. Please take your own pen with you.
Medication must be labelled with the official pharmacy labels, your child’s name and be completely contained within a bag so that staff can retrieve this safely.
Chromebooks on loan
If any family has had a Chromebook or tablet on loan while we were in lockdown, they are required to return this to school this week. Please bring to the main reception and ensure you return the device with its charger. Any damage or issues with the device should be reported on return.
For any P6/7 pupils from last year- if you had a device replaced and still have the broken device, you are also required to return the broken device to school reception this week.
New P6 pupils- we are expecting replacement Chromebooks to be delivered soon. We will let you know when we find out the allocation date for P6 pupils to be allocated their own devices.
Where older pupils have previously taken their mobile phones in to school, this was usually collected by the class teacher at the beginning of the day and returned. This will not currently be possible. If your child brings their phone to school it will stay in their bags (kept in the classroom).
Children will be escorted throughout the building throughout the day but please note that we can’t accept any liability for damaged or missing phones.
Please don’t let your child take their own toys to school.
Make sure everything is labelled and can fit in their school bag so we can keep our classrooms tidy and safe.
It is very important that all parents returning with their children from abroad check to ensure that the country they have visited is not on the list of countries currently requiring to quarantine.
Andorra, The Bahamas and Belgium: if you arrived or returned from Andorra, The Bahamas or Belgium on or after 04:00 on Saturday 8 August you will need to self-isolate. Arrivals and those returning between 10 July and 03:59 on 8 August from these countries do not have to self-isolate.
Spain: if you arrived or returned from Spain between 23 and 25 July you do not need to self-isolate. If you arrived or returned from Spain from 00:01 on 26 July you will need to self-isolate.
Luxembourg: if you arrived or returned from Luxembourg between 10 and 30 July you do not need to self-isolate. If you arrived or returned from Luxembourg from 00:01 on 31 July you will need to self-isolate.
If this applies to you, do not send your child to school and inform the school in the usual way. Parents are responsible for checking out and adhering to the guidance. Please see most recent link below for more information.
If your child is going to be absent from school then please phone the school number as soon as possible in the morning. You can leave a message on the answering machine. If leaving a message then please state the reason why they are off school. We are required to report carefully on pupil absence so it is really important to let us know if your child has any Covid-19 symptoms or is required to self-isolate for any reason.
All ELC parents should have received an email this afternoon detailing drop off and pick up procedures. There is also further information on our closed Facebook page.
We are all ready and excited to welcome you all back to Hilton school and ELC over the next couple of days. We know there is a lot to think about and we understand you will be feeling a mix of emotions regarding your children coming back to school this week. Please do not worry about your child. We will be here and ready to support them on their return to school.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
We look forward to working together with you and your child over the coming weeks.
Mrs Reid and the Hilton Team
School Clothing Grants 👪
The Highland Council will provide support towards the costs of school clothing to many families. This will help children from primary 1 to secondary schools in Highland to be better equipped to attend school, focus on their education and fully participate in school life whilst easing the financial pressures for parents and carers.
Applications are now being invited by The Highland Council for the academic year starting in August 2020. Assistance with school clothing can be claimed if parents and carers are receiving any one of the following:
- Income Support
- Universal Credit (where the monthly earned income does not exceed £610).
- Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
- Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit, but not in receipt of Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £16,105 (as assessed by the HMRC)
- Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and an income below £6,420 (as assessed by the HMRC)
- If a young person is 16 to 18 years old and receive any of these benefits in their own right, then they can claim for themselves.
- An asylum seeker receiving support
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
To streamline the application process, the Council has a single application form for school clothing grants and free school meals. Applications can be made online at
Best Start Grant School Age Payment 👪
The Best Start School Age Payment is a lump sum of £250 which is intended to help with the cost of a child starting school in August 2020. It is in addition to the school clothing grant and does not need to be paid back.
From 1 June 2020 until 28 February 2021 applications are invited by Social Security Scotland for children born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016 who are starting school in August 2020. Parents who have deferred their child’s school entry to August 2021 should still apply during this period. If they don’t it will be too late, and they will miss out on their payment.
Best Start Grant School Age Payment can be claimed if parents and carers are receiving any one of the following (If you’re under 18, you do not need to be on any payments or benefits to apply:
|● Universal Credit||● Housing Benefit|
|● Child Tax Credit||● Income Support|
|● Working Tax Credit||● Pension Credit|
|● Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)|
|● Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)|
Parents or carers can apply via Social Security Scotland freephone helpline on 0800 182 2222, by post or online at www.mygov.scot/best-start-grant
Don’t miss out, find out.
Getting in touch with the Welfare Support Team is the first step to maximising your potential income. For help to apply for all benefits or entitlements contact the Welfare Support Team: telephone 0800 090 1004 or email email@example.com
Alternatively, contact Citizens Advice for general information or for details of the customers local office they can visit: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/benefits
Full support is available to support parents and carers through the council’s Welfare Support Team and Highland CABx to ensure households are receiving all their benefits and entitlements – ever more important in these challenging times. Advice is freely available to help families with applying for the Clothing Grant and the Best Start Grant.