AN EDUCATION chief has admitted it’s a “scary time” for schoolchildren in the Kingdom but praised teachers and other members of staff for the important roles they’re playing in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a rallying call to employees, Fife Council’s Carrie Lindsay said she had been “hugely impressed” by their commitment to comfort and reassure pupils.

That includes volunteers in the 29 children’s activity centres set up to look after the kids of key workers – more volunteers will be needed in time – and a “juggling” headteacher who’s putting some fun into lessons.

Ms Lindsay, the executive director of education and children’s services, wrote: “Our staff are now part of a COVID-19 business critical workforce.

“We have the expertise and skill to look after children in a safe and fun environment so that our key workers can keep our country fed, being provided with power, feeling safe in our communities and, importantly, for our health and care staff to be able to care for those in our communities and hospitals that are sick.

“This is our contribution in fighting this COVID-19 virus.

“We won’t need you all at once, but we will need to make sure we can staff our children’s activity centres over the next few months.”

She continued: “I never expected us to be in a position where all our schools are likely to be closed for a significant period of time, with our country needing us more than ever to help keep our children safe, healthy and cared for.

“However, this is the position we are now in and I’m so struck by the commitment our workforce has shown to keep our children and young people safe.

“This must be a scary time for some of our children and young people who will be anxious about the future.

“I’ve been hugely impressed at the lengths you have gone to in order to comfort and reassure our children.”

Ms Lindsay said the “constant” messages on Twitter of parents sharing their home learning and having fun as they learn was “very heartwarming” with the rainbows in windows “particularly poignant”.

She added: “The innovative and creative thinking of our staff amazes me every day, and I know we’ll keep being focused on solutions and staying positive for the benefit of our children and young people.

“The hidden skills that you all have are very much coming to the fore.

“Today I heard about a secondary headteacher who was offering their juggling skills as well as their teaching skills to our children’s activity centres.”

Ms Lindsay concluded: “I’d like to thank each and every one of you for all that you are doing to contribute to fighting against COVID-19.

“Stay safe out there and keep helping our children and young people to be learning and having fun wherever they are currently spending their time.”

The council have also issued an appeal to all other staff – those not involved in education – who aren’t in an essential role to consider volunteering for one that is.

Chief executive Steve Grimmond said: With so many colleagues unwell or in self-isolation, we are facing urgent staff shortages in essential roles which are needed to provide critical frontline services.

“If you’re ready to help our joint response to this emergency situation, let us know who you are, your skills and availability.”

He added that they were looking separately at how best to utilise the “many generous offers of help” from the public.

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