Coronavirus & Bridgend Info: Free School Meals, Emergency Childcare, Online Learning

Following the closure of schools last week due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bridgend Council has published its interim measures.

Free School Meals

Packed lunches will be provided for pupils who are eligible to receive free school meals. 23 schools will act as collection points, with pupils/parents/guardians asked to go to the school closest to them (which may be different from the school children attend).

Packed lunches will be available in the main reception area of each school between 1 pm-2 pm from Monday (23rd March 2020). Any changes to this arrangement will be communicated by the schools, though the council asks that as few people as possible go to collect the packed lunch.

Emergency Childcare for Key Workers

Six schools in the county will act as emergency childcare facilities for key workers from Monday (23rd March 2020).

  • Maesteg Comprehensive
  • Brynmenyn Primary
  • Maes yr Haul Primary (Broadlands)
  • Coety Primary
  • Pencoed Primary
  • West Park Primary (Porthcawl)

BCBC’s definition of “key workers” includes workers who are essential to responding to the pandemic: NHS staff, emergency services (fire, police, ambulance), prison service, social care staff and childcare staff.

Here’s the application form for a place (link).

Bridgend Council ARE NOT using the same definition of “key worker” as the UK and Welsh governments (which includes logistics/food distribution workers,  utilities etc), so it’s probably best to check ahead if you’re unsure.

Children who would otherwise need additional support are also able to use the childcare service, though no definition has been provided as to what “vulnerable child” means – again, it’s best to check ahead.

BCBC says the situation will be reviewed in the weeks ahead, but parents are advised NOT to leave children with anyone who’s being advised to self-isolate (the over-70s/grandparents, those with specific health conditions) and, ideally, children should be kept at home and practice the same social distancing measures as adults.

Online Learning & 2020 Exams

Schools will be switching to online learning via Google Classroom, Hwb and their own websites over the coming weeks. Arrangements will be put in place for students who need additional support.

You probably already know that external exams (GCSE’s, A-Levels) have been cancelled for 2020; there’s Q&A on the Welsh Government’s website with further information.

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