MOL-athon challenge

It’s been fantastic to see so many people heading outdoors to clock up the miles for our MOL-athon challenge this week.  We have over 100 members and have travelled almost 600km at the end of day 1!

We’re sorry that some of us have encountered some challenges with the Strava app.  We have amended our club so that you should now be able to log any walk/run/cycle for the 10,000km challenge.

As this is a community challenge, remember to try to include as many family members as possible when logging your exercise.  You can do this by creating an account for each family member (children can use their google accounts). You can also add your child’s walk manually to your outing on the app, and can add your exercise manually when needed too. For families not using Strava, pupils should add their km count for the family on the morning register. We’ll provide details about how to do this over the week.

Below is the app guide which explains how to download and use it.

Strava app guide

strava app

Look at these happy, healthy pictures from today…

HEALTH & WELLBEING WEEK (25 May 2020 at 14_58)Fun in the sunBring me sunshineHWB1

Tasty!Sunflower for HH

Highland Council publishes decisions made during COVID-19 emergency

Public assurance is being provided by Highland Council that the organisation is fully transparent and accountable during the COVID-19 emergency response as it publishes decisions made by its group of senior officers – or Gold Group* – under emergency procedures.

The list of decisions made since 19 March 2020 is on the Council’s website at the following link and will continue to the added to and updated as further decisions are made using emergency procedures.

Chaired by Chief Executive, Donna Manson, the strategic Gold Group was set up to provide governance for the Council’s emergency response to COVID-19 and continuing business, using emergency procedures under the Council’s existing Scheme of Delegation, and within the Civil Contingencies Act and Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

On 17 March all council committee meetings were postponed during March and April 2020 following the Prime Minister and First Minister’s announcements marking the beginning of lockdown on 16 March.

Since then, a strategic Gold Group* of senior cross-party councillors was also set up, meeting virtually, to provide oversight for decisions made under emergency powers. On 15 April, this group agreed that committees should only be held during May and June if urgent business required it, but they would be postponed until the end of June, except for a special Council meeting on 25 June. Corporate Resources Committee is now being planned for 3 June and the Planning Review Body meeting for 30 June. These meetings will be held virtually.

Highland Council Convener, Cllr Bill Lobban said: “I welcome the publication of decisions made under emergency procedures which will help to assure Members and the wider communitiy that decisions made have been appropriate, proportionate, and in direct response to the Covid-19 emergency.  Many of the decisions have been minor in nature and they have all required a quick response by Council officers and the ability to adjust to that response as situations have developed.  I would like to take the opportunity to thank Council staff for their unstinting response to this national emergency, many of whom, unable to carry out their normal duties, have volunteered to help in any way they can. You have, and continue to help the most vulnerable in our local communities and I sincerely thank you.”

The re-introduction of Committee meetings and Member-led governance will be a gradual process as the Council continues to operate under emergency procedures. This is due to staff requirements to continue to work on the COVID-19 emergency response and therefore insufficient capacity to service committees as normal. The Council is also working on providing a robust and reliable ICT alternative through which it can deliver council meetings remotely to all Members together with appropriate support and training. The Council, however will be unable to operate in “business as usual” for a long time due to the impact of Covid-19 and the uncertain period ahead.

Meanwhile, the decisions being made under emergency procedures will be circulated to all Members on a weekly basis and published on the Council’s website.  This will include notification if no decisions have been made.

  1. GOLD represents one level of the three levels public sector organisations work at during a crisis or major incident. Gold is strategic level, Silver is tactical level and Bronze is operational level. All members of the Executive Leadership Team sit at the Gold or Strategic Officer meeting. 
  2. The Chief Executive also holds a Strategic Gold Group meeting twice weekly for senior members. This includes the Convener, the Group Leaders of the coalition Administration, the Budget Leader plus the joint Leaders of the Opposition.

£56m COVID-19 Business Grants awarded in Highland

The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £56,286,250 million to 5135 Highland businesses.

The Highland Council’s Head of Development and Regeneration, Allan Maguire, said: “We now are processing applications and approving payment within days of a business submitting a complete online application form and its accompanying evidence.

“We have around 100 businesses who have applied for grant but for whatever reason have been unable to attach the right evidence. We have asked them to promptly get the required information back to us, so we can complete the assessment of their application and get the grant paid to them”.

Based on estimates when the Scottish Government first launched and asked the Council to deliver this scheme, uptake of the grant has been lower than expected.

Cllr Trish Robertson, Chair of The Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee said: “This is a very challenging time for businesses and we are concerned that there are some in Highland who may be eligible for the grant but who have not yet applied. We are keen to ensure that that as many Highland businesses as possible who qualify for the grant, apply for and benefit from it. I therefore urge business owners to go to the Council’s website and follow the links to the guidance and application form.”

https://www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus/businessgrant

https://www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus/selfcateringbusinessgrant

Highland Council awarded over £750,000 to roll out network of safe walking and cycling routes in response to Coronavirus pandemic

Following an ambitious bid by Highland Council supported by NHS Highland, to deliver rapid active travel interventions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Highland Council has been awarded £752,954 from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund, which is administered by Sustrans.

Over the coming weeks towns across Highland and the City of Inverness will see a roll-out of temporary walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure along priority routes. These measures will ensure that people can move safely on essential journeys and whilst taking daily exercise. They will also form a key component of village, town and city centre recovery strategies.

Keen to begin a conversation with communities and other stakeholders, a consultation was launched on the 15th May on The Highland Council’s website. This has so far received 433 comments, most give overwhelming support for the approach, with 85% of comments supporting the interventions proposed.  Those disagreeing (12%) are being carefully considered by the team progressing the work. The first phase of measures will be implemented this week, with more planned over the coming weeks, being dependent on delivery of materials, plant and further engagement and design work.

The Council’s Head of Infrastructure, Colin Howell said: “As we move very rapidly from bid to implementation stage, we are working hard to ensure that these measures are rolled out in a safe and inclusive way that considers all users. Making sure people can safely social distance and move around using active travel are our key priorities. To ensure the best chance of these interventions being effective we are rolling them out now and encourage people to provide feedback through our Council’s website so we can react to issues people raise where necessary.”

Councillor Trish Robertson, Chair of The Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee said: “I am delighted that the Highland Council Spaces for People bid was successful. It is important that we continue to support and assist essential workers with active travel and create safe ways for people to maintain physical distancing, this may also help guide our future, given the environmental benefits in travel we have seen in recent weeks.  These temporary measures will be flexible, and I stress that given the speed of roll out, we might not get every intervention right first time. That’s why we want to continue the conversation with our communities and would welcome feedback online to respond to how people are finding the new measures work or don’t work for them.”

Provost of the City of Inverness, Cllr Helen Carmichael said: “The announcement today is a hugely welcome result for Inverness and the wider Highland region that we hope will bring about positive change in an otherwise challenging situation. We know these ambitious measures in Inverness are generating debate and discussion, which is what the consultation portal is there for. I encourage everyone that uses these routes to give us their feedback now and as measures are rolled out.”

Karen McGregor, Director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “It’s clear that people across Scotland want to do the right thing during Coronavirus. They want to look after their physical and mental health.

“They also want to make sure that they are keeping to physical distancing guidelines while still being safe on our streets.

“Providing funding support to Highland Council through our Spaces for People programme will make it easier and safer for people to travel around Inverness and other towns across the Highlands for essential travel and exercise.”

The temporary interventions proposed are available for review at The Highland Council’s website – https://consult.highland.gov.uk/kse/

The possibility of further bids into the fund are being looked at so the council invites the public to comment on issues being experienced in their local communities where further measures may be considered.

About Spaces for People

Funded by Transport Scotland and administered by Sustrans Scotland, Spaces for People is a new, temporary infrastructure programme in Scotland which offers funding and support to make it safer for people who choose to walk, cycle or wheel for essential trips and exercise during Covid-19.

Happy Healthy MOL

Good morning!

Please see below the wee video highlighting what’s on this week at MOL for our Health & Well-Being Week. We hope the children, families and wider community have a fantastic week. Please send in pictures/short videos of any adventures you get up to with the amazing range of HWB activities and challenges set up for the week. We would love to see them!

Happy Healthy MOL

MOL-athon Challenge – Please remember to download the STRAVA app if you want to use this for recording your family’s kilometre count for our 10,000 km MOL-athon challenge.

Strava app guide

House Captain workouts – Every day we have a house captain workout – wear the house colours and join in whenever you want to – it’s green for Greenwood today.

Greenwood Workout

Monday: Greenwood (green)

Tuesday: Redwood (red)

Wednesday: Elmwood (orange)

Thursday: Pinewood (blue)

Friday: Cedarwood (yellow)

MOL Community Workout – On Thursday at 2.00pm please join us for our whole school community live workout. We’ll put the live meet link on google classrooms at 1.50pm.

Let’s Go Yellow Together for Highland Hospice – We’re inviting everyone to wear yellow on Friday and to create a sunflower to display in their window showing support for Highland Hospice. Please see the link for an idea to help you with your sunflowers…

How to make a Sunflower

Have a great week, and looking forward to seeing you involved in all the fun and creative activities during the week.

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Brace yourselves…for a full-on, action packed health and well-being week

That’s right…as a school MOL is on the move next week. Together we are going to get out as much as we can, learn some fitness and sports routines, enjoy a focus on social and emotional well-being and learn how to keep ourselves healthy with food and nutrition.

So what’s in store for us?

    • On Monday, you will have a Health and Well-Being (HWB) grid assigned on your google classroom for the week. This is the IDL grid for next week. We will not be traveling away from home on a virtual MOL tour, but instead in our homes and around our community, following current safety guidance.
    • Thanks to our house captains who have created a different fitness routine for us for every day of the week – wear GREEN for your workout on Monday with Greenwood – woohoo! The IDL grid will let you know about the order of the other houses during the week.
    • Massive thanks to a great number of friends, families and staff who have contributed to lots of varied activities for the week. All the information is on the HWB grid, and we’ll give updates on the blog so no-one misses out.
    • We will aim for a ‘live’ workout meet together for the whole school and community at 2.00pm on Thursday May 28th.
    • On Friday May 29th it is Highland Hospice’s wear yellow day. As our school charity for this year we have planned fundraiser for Highland Hospice during the year. For now, we have taken the decision in the current circumstances to raise awareness of this day by encouraging everyone to wear yellow and to design a sunflower for display in their window. We know families may decide to donate to the hospice, and as a school we have raised over £700 for the charity this session.
    • AND finally, let’s get moving…we invite everyone in the school community to join us on our epic REAL journey to cover 10,000km together! Wow – a MOL-a-thon! This is a journey which links to our World Tour theme as we travel the distance between the equator and the North Pole. Together with staff and pupils from ELC-P7, we have 500 members in our immediate school community. When we add in parents and other family members who might join us on our mighty trek we will have many more on the move. So we have set this challenge for ourselves for our HWB week – can we move 10,000km together? For the school community this is a target of 20km per person, an average of 4km per day, Monday to Friday – go on…we can do it, our very own MOL-a-thon, especially with all the help of our friends and families.
    • For the MOL-a-thon, it would be good if everyone could download the Strava app (instructions from Miss Hutcheson on the link) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h2huihjVR5C3N72Su894b1dQwe14SiRt/viewstrava app
  • What a lot to look forward to for the final week of May – let’s get going! I’m looking out my walking shoes this weekend, Mrs Snedden 😃Let's Get Moving

Pupil and Parent Survey Feedback

Please find below the results and feedback from the pupil and parent surveys carried out earlier this month. As mentioned before, the feedback was supportive and positive about our plan and approaches for learning at home. Although we are entering a new phase of beginning to prepare for a blended return to school in August, we are advised to continue with current provision for pupils in the meantime. You will find that we have reflected and acted on areas for development from your feedback. Thank you to everyone who was able to complete the surveys – a huge number of pupil responses in particular which was great to see. All your views are important to us!

MOL May 2020 Pupil and Parent Survey Feedback

 

thank you

 

North Atlantic Corona Challenge 2020 – Young people encouraged to take part

The Chair of the Highlands and Islands European Partnership is encouraging young people to take part in a special challenge to come up with creative ideas to help the North Atlantic region.

Sponsored by Highlands & Islands European Partnership, the North Atlantic Corona Challenge 2020 is looking for young people to develop their best idea to save lives, businesses and communities affected by the Corona virus in the North Atlantic region. This will take the form of a 48-hour online challenge to run from 29-31 May 2020 with monetary prizes for the top three ideas.

The Highland Council’s spokesman on Europe Cllr Jimmy Gray, Chair of the Highlands & Islands European Partnership welcomed the initiative. He said: “I know how creative and forward thinking our young people are so I’m sure there will be lots of constructive and imaginative suggestions put forward. This is a great opportunity, not only because of the financial prize money on offer for the top ideas, but Highlands & Islands Enterprise will provide entrepreneurship support to the winning team with a Highlands and Islands participant. It’s a chance to get involved in finding solutions for the future so I hope as many young people as possible living across the Highlands and Islands take up the challenge.”

Full details can be found at https://www.coronachallenge.fo/ or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/coronachallenge/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/coronachallenge.fo/

Registration of entries closes on May 28th.

News on schools re-opening & the ELC

Many of you will have listened to the news today detailing the government’s strategy for re-opening schools and provision of early learning and childcare in Scotland. Highland Council has issued a press release in response to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s briefing which you will find below, along with a link to the government’s road map, which can also be accessed on the Scottish government website.

There will now clearly be a period of considerable preparation to move forward with plans for the reopening of schools and the ELC. Please be assured that I will continue to keep you up to date with developments as they arise and to work together in partnership with parents and the community to bring about the best provision for our MOL children during these evolving phases. I will be in touch again soon as we have information and with plans for what this new strategy will look like at MOL. Meantime, we will continue to provide the children with the online learning provision they have been enjoying so far. Best wishes, Mrs Snedden

Highland Council news release 21 May 2020

21 May 2020

Highland Council prepares for phased return to new normal

Highland Council’s Recovery Board Chair, Cllr Alasdair Christie has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government’s road map phasing the way out of lockdown, which was published earlier today.

The First Minister revealed that Phase 1 of the Government’s new four phase plan, could come into effect on 28 May, however the advice remains stay home, protect the NHS and save lives for now.

Cllr Alasdair Christie, Chair of the Highland Council’s Recovery Board, said: “Highland Council is assessing and planning for all the implications of the First Minister’s announcements made today about the first stage relaxation of lockdown, including her statement on teachers and other staff returning during June to prepare for the return to school in August.

“The Recovery Board has already begun developing our own Highland Council route map which is focusing on how we prepare for a safe return to work, return to school and restarting key services, such as reopening recycling centres at the start of June.

“Today’s announcement will I am sure be welcomed by communities here in Highland, who have been adhering to the lockdown measures and ensuring they help protect the NHS and save lives.

“However, we are also acutely aware of the impact the lockdown has had on our economy and on every aspect of people’s lives and mental health.

“We are working hard to map out the best way forward for Highland, so that we can start to get people back to work and school, but to ensure this is done safely and in line with science and the Scottish Government’s guidance.”

He added: “Since the outbreak we have learned a lot of lessons and we’ve seen a tremendous demonstration of agility, innovation and hard work from staff across the organisation. I am delighted to say that as a result of everyone’s hard work and commitment we are now in a position to pave the way forward and start getting back to what will be a new normal for all of us.”

Schools will return on 11 August, one week earlier than planned for most pupils, while Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings will open over the summer.

An agreement reached between councils, professional associations and parent representatives means:

  • schools will implement physical distancing measures, such as providing seating that is two metres apart and staggering arrival, departure and break times
  • increased hand-washing or use of hand sanitisers, enhanced cleaning, robust protocols and ongoing risk assessments
  • class sizes will be significantly reduced as a result of the new way of working, with most pupils spending around half their time in class and half learning at home. Time in school will increase further as soon as it is safe to do so
  • teachers and other education staff will return in June – subject to appropriate safety assessments being completed – to prepare and plan for the new way of working and welcoming pupils back
  • existing ‘hubs’ will continue to run to provide vulnerable children and those of key workers with childcare over the summer
  • the school estate will be expanded where necessary and possible to increase the time children can spend with their teachers
  • innovative use will be made of existing teachers and staff

The Scottish Government road map can be found here