Back to School
Hi everyone Zoe here! I’m the CLiCK women’s worker for Fife and Forth Valley. If you are anything like me, the last few months with no school or nursery for the kids has been a long, hard slog. It’s over 4 months now since lockdown was announced - meaning no more nursery or school for our kids. For me, this meant my wee guy would not finish nursery and have no transition to primary school. It was actually really sad thinking that we wouldn’t have a last day at nursery, nursery graduation, getting to go into the school and have a school dinner with him, or the excitement of him coming home to tell us all about his school visits.
Panic set in when I quickly realised that the closure of nurseries meant that I was now the nursery as well as a full-time worker. Trying to balance childcare and work has always been tricky but now it was just me, him, and a laptop full-time. In the beginning this was hard, he wasn’t used to me sitting at a laptop and couldn’t work out how I was home but still working. He wanted me to play, help him do things. He was also very emotional as he missed his gran so much. This juggling act takes its toll, I found myself missing my time out the house and my normal routine.
Mum guilt still kicks in all the time. I feel I say “in a minute” a million times a day – and my house is wallpapered in all his creations – but I have got to spend time with my wee guy that otherwise I wouldn’t have got. I’m now balancing work a lot better with him. We have a better routine and get out at lunchtime for a walk most days although some days he won’t budge out his pyjamas, but I have decided that’s ok. They are going through this too, and thankfully, there’s now light at the end of the tunnel.
The council in Fife are saying that primary age kids are going back to school full time on 12th August, whether school uniform must be worn seems to be different depending on the school. There may be restrictions around dropping our kids off and picking them back up too so it’s something to be aware of and maybe allow extra time the first week so we can all get used to the new way our kids attend school. Although this is the date for Fife, the date may be slightly different depending what local authority your school is in. A good way to keep up to date is to follow your kids’ school on social media or sign up to the school’s newsletter or app if they have one.
High school age kids will be back the same time as primary kids, but the school may do a staggered start and end to the day to help avoid large volumes of kids entering and leaving together. There have also been conversations around high school kids staying in one classroom instead of moving round the building to help minimise risk. Again, this may be school specific so it’s better to follow your school on social media or signup to email / text alerts to keep up to date.
Like everything with kids, going to school is another expensive time and even more so at a time where people’s income has been affected due to the pandemic. One of the grants that is in place for kids going into Primary 1 is the Best Start School Age Grant which provides a one off £250 payment. You need to be in receipt of benefits to apply for this, but the threshold is low so don’t think just because you receive the minimum payment of a benefit you won’t be eligible. In a previous job I was involved in the development of this fund, it’s a great resource and very straight forward to apply so get your applications in. Right now, there is a 30-day wait for applications to be processed but it’s still better to apply than not. You can find out more about the grant and submit an application HERE.
Another option to help with school clothing costs is the School Clothing Grant which is for all ages of children. The eligibility criteria (who can apply) and the amount of money you'll get depends on your local council, but the grant is Scotland wide. Everybody who gets a school clothing grant will get at least £100 and it’s normally paid into your bank account. Whilst applying for this, you also apply for the free school meals so it’s worth doing. You can pop your application in and find out more HERE.
We’ve also pulled together some info on uniform banks and swaps happening in local areas across Scotland. Check out the link below for more info on what’s available in your area. We’ll be updating this list regularly so if you know a service that’s missing, please let us know HERE
At CLiCK, we can also provide you with financial support to cover the costs of things like uniforms and general day-to-day living through the Encompass Fund and Victim Fund.
So, let the count-down begin for our kids to get back into their routines! Yes, it may not look the same but I’m sure the kids will just enjoy seeing their friends and getting away from us for a while. If you have any questions about the grants or uniform banks, or would like to find out more about how CLiCK can support you financially, you can always pop onto our live chat or give us a call on the helpline and one of the team will help you get sorted.
Speak soon, take care, and roll on the next four weeks! Remember these are difficult strange times not just for us but for our kids too. Take a break, go to the park, pop your feet in the water at the beach and just enjoy having the kids around. I’m sure at some point we will look back wishing they were still around our feet, asking for biscuits and wanting us to build the same jigsaw for the 100th time!