PUPILS eligible for free school meals will be catered for through daily sessions at their school, Fife Council has stated.

As schools across Fife, including the 17 primaries and two secondaries in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area, closed to pupils on Friday, Executive Director of Education, Carrie Lindsay, gave parents and carers an update on what they can expect this coming week.

The main messages she had were, next week schools will be closed to pupils. Staff will continue to prepare work to support them.

Secondary schools will be allocating time for any 4th, 5th and 6th year pupils to go in to complete coursework, where necessary. This will be organised at a school level.

All school kitchens will be open and drop-in lunch sessions for Free Meal Entitled (FME) pupils will be held from between 12 and 1pm. Children should use their nearest school.

By the end of next week the council will have over 20 locations set up to provide childcare and some learning for the more vulnerable, or those whose parents are classified as key workers.

Carrie Lindsay, Executive Director of Education and Children's Services, said: "The following days and weeks are going to be a very new way of living for all of us.

"Our schools, nurseries and childcare facilities have closed to pupils. SQA exams have been cancelled. Our staff will still be hard at work trying to do the very best for your children in these very difficult times.

"I want to tell all those young people due to sit exams this year - we are here for you. We know the work that you have put in to prepare for your SQA exams and please believe that learning will never be wasted. We are still getting information from the SQA, but we are all determined that the class of 2020 will not be disadvantaged".

Ms Lindsay added: "We are also acutely aware of those parents who are key workers and are worried about childcare. We are working flat out to create spaces in our school buildings where your children will be looked after, allowing you to continue your critical work.

By Friday, 27th March at the latest, we will have these facilities in place but in the meantime we ask you to make alternative arrangements for childcare next week.

"Our vulnerable children will also be cared for during this time and we are working closely with our our social workers and headteachers to identify children and families who may be in need of more support during the next few weeks and months.

"For families who are struggling financially we understand the worry and the financial pressure when our schools close. Our school kitchens will be open for the first part of next week to provide a meal for any children entitled to free school meals. Children should go to their nearest school as there will be no school buses running. We are working on a longer term solution to provide payment directly to parents whose children are entitled.

"To all of our children and young people out there, this is a new way of working. It's not an extended Easter holiday, and we know that you'll be connecting with your teachers to keep learning. For the class of 2020 we want to make sure you access the materials provided for your learning. Keep working and keep active.

"We'll keep everyone updated as much as we can in the coming days. In the meantime follow the national guidance and the NHS advice on how to keep yourselves and others safe. "