There are currently eight Key Worker Hubs which are located throughout West Lothian and have proved extremely popular throughout the lockdown period. Childcare for pre-school children is being provided by Early Years and Childcare partner providers and Childminders.
However the school buildings currently hosting the eight Key Worker Hubs will be needed for returning staff and some pupils from 15 June. Therefore the existing hubs will not be available during the summer as they are made ready for the schools re-opening in August.
In order to maintain this critical service, from 15 June the provision will change to a summer activity model in new locations. Parents/carers must re-register for this service if they require key worker childcare during the summer. All parents/carers who are currently registered have received a GroupCall message however re-registration is required to use this Service from 15 June.
The provision of children of Key Workers will be consolidated into a smaller number of larger venues at:
- Low Port Centre, Linlithgow
- Howden Park Centre, Livingston
- Balbardie Sports Centre, Bathgate
- Broxburn Family Centre
Provision will continue to be offered from 8am to 6pm.
The key worker childcare service is to support critical workers responding to the COVID-19 emergency as set out below and is not available to those working from home, those on leave and those returning to non-critical work.
The key worker categories are defined as:-
- Category 1 - Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID response, and associated staff; Health and Care workers supporting life threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; Energy suppliers (small numbers identified as top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.
- Category 2 - All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (e.g. Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers, etc), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.
- Category 3 - All workers (private, public or third sector) without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to COVID-19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised e.g. food logistics and key national government services).
Elaine Cook, Depute Chief Executive said:
"The nature of the provision at the Hubs will change, with greater emphasis on health and wellbeing activities, similar to the holiday lunch club offer. Pupils will have access to high quality indoor and outdoor facilities and there will be a programme of activities also.
"It is necessary to make a distinct offer for holiday provision that is a childcare model and that will not have teachers present, as they will be preparing for the return of pupils in August. Staff for the new model will be drawn from Community Learning and Development, Active Schools and the early learning and childcare workforce."
"Social distancing measures have been developed and access to food will continue at the new sites. The Hubs will also continue to be cleaned daily."
Provision for families using the ASN Hub will be maintained.
David Dodds, Executive councillor for Education said: "I wish to thank all the staff who volunteered to support the hubs since lockdown. It has been a tremendous effort and one which has supported key workers and the national effort to protect local people. The Hubs will take a different focus going forward but ultimately will continue to support Key Workers who have no alternative childcare available."