Edinburgh schools have just 200 pupils during coronavirus crisis

Council may reduce number of schools it opens

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 6:00 am
The council is surprised so few pupils have been going to school
The council is surprised so few pupils have been going to school

THE number of Capital schools staying open for the children of key workers could be reduced after fewer than expected turned up.A total of 23 schools across the city are currently catering for some 200 pupils, but city council chief executive Andrew Kerr said that could be reduced to a smaller number of hubs.In an update on the virus crisis he told the council’s leadership advisory panel there were some schools where no-one was turning up and others with only one or two pupils.Mr Kerr said: “At the moment we are looking after 200 young people on behalf of their parents, making sure key workers are able to go to work.“We have 1900 places available right now. We’re thinking we should be shrinking that over a period of time into hubs, so people may have to travel a little bit to get to that facility.“We have teachers who are volunteering - this is a service that is 8am-6pm seven days a week and will continue to be so over the holidays, so it’s a considerable service we’re providing.“It has been surprising to us there have only been 200 but I think people have made their own arrangements.“We will see whether that trend continues over the holidays because it may well accelerate there.”He said he had heard anecdotally that Glasgow had 700 pupils attending its schools.The leadership advisory panel - a cross-party emergency committee set up to take urgent decisions during the corona crisis - also heard the council had distributed 2000 food parcels to vulnerable families throughout the city last week.And it was ensuring arrangements were in place for essentials to be provided on a weekly basis to the people identified by the Chief Medical Officers as being vulnerable - including those who had received organ transplants.The council’s director of resources Stephen Moir said there were national arrangements brokered by the Scottish Government with large food suppliers and others, but the council was providing a safety net for any who were not covered by these and may not have support from friends or family.

Sign up to our daily newsletter