Village Hall closes, bus and train times change, School latest and Volunteers Assemble!


Maria Bathgate, our Kirknewton Community Development Trust Volunteer Co-ordinator, has been working hard as part of a team of people to direct the volunteer help in the village.  The first task was to get flyers out with all the relevant advice and local numbers you need.  BIG thanks to all volunteers who came forward.  We have about 25 so far – but the more the merrier in case they need to self isolate in future.  If you can offer help email with your name, mobile and address.  Thanks


Debbie Douglas, our Kirknewton Community Development Trust Fundraiser, is making applications for funds to support people in during this crisis.  Please call 01506 283000 in first instance for financial assistance provided to people across West Lothian.  We will continue running the Kirknewton Community Lottery and deploy funds raised to support people when it is required.


Gill Greaves volunteers every week to help run the hall and has passed on this information.  “West Lothian Council have taken the decision that all activities in their community buildings are to cease as of 23/03/2020 until further notice due to the rapid escalation in the speed of Covid-19. This requires more stringent steps to suppress as far as we can the spread of the virus.

Our cleaner will deep clean over the following few days. We then ask that nobody enters the building until we take the decision to re open. If there is anything belonging to you that you may require over the next few months can you please remove this from the building before 9am on 23/03/2020. ”

The Trust are also sad to announce that Community Playgroups, the charity that run the Kirknewton Playgroup in the Village Hall will close it’s doors for good.  With changes in alternative childcare the Group has been unsustainable for a few years, and needed 13 children over three days to break even.  Despite two call outs the demand wasn’t there.  Once the current Covid-19 issue is resolved we will review and do all we can to support parents/carers of children pre school age to come up with alternative ways to support each other.  For many years we have relied on people volunteering their time to run pre and after school clubs, playgroup & toddler groups and music and reading groups for young people so give it some thought if you can.

The Green Room is not owned by West Lothian Council but was built by the community for the community.  We will remain open as Kirknewton Community Development Trust staff have indicated they intend to work as long as they can to support the community during this difficult time.


We’ve been made aware train services are to change from Monday 23rd March – details on their website here

John Sives, Chair of the Community Council, has reported to us that Lothian buses will be moving to a Saturday service from Monday 23rd March.  The full statement from the local authority is below.

“The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland has this afternoon issued guidance changing the current regulations for making amendments to bus routes in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.  Bus operators will now be able to make amendments to bus services, including temporary suspension, within a short notice timescale of 48 hours.

The coronavirus has had a significant impact on bus services with the sector seeing a significant reduction in the number of people using public transport.  Additionally, operators are experiencing impacts of the pandemic with regards to the supply of components and consumables, as well as labour force making it more difficult to deliver the bus services in their current form.  Therefore, the Traffic Commissioner has implemented the revised guidance to support commercial operators where they are no longer able sustain the current bus network.

Although it is understood this measure is in place to support bus services and to reduce the risk of losing a significant number of bus operators during this crisis, these changes will undoubtedly have an impact on passengers.  We are currently liaising with local operators to understand the route changes which are likely to be implemented and we will continue to work with commercial operators to explore ways to ensure local communities continue to receive a service where possible.

It is possible that changes to the subsidised network may also be proposed in order to ensure that as much of the overall network is covered as possible.  For example, subsidised journeys which no longer connect to commercial journeys as a result of changes could be temporarily altered or removed to direct resources elsewhere within the network.

Additionally, it will not be possible for the Passenger Transport Unit to update roadside information throughout this changing and temporary period.  We will strive to ensure that passengers are aware as much as is reasonably practical of the new times via social media etc.  Posters will also be put up in shelters advising passengers to contact Traveline Scotland for up to date information on bus services.

As the normal 28 day consultation period has been temporarily removed from the registration process unfortunately I will not be in a position to provide the detailed summary of changes and area impact that is normally circulated to members prior to bus changes however I will endeavour to keep members updated as much as possible.  The Passenger Transport Unit will be working to assess the impact of changes as quickly as possible and if there are significant impacts (i.e bus services removed from whole areas) we will ensure that information is circulated to ward members ASAP.

Changes that we have been made aware of so far are as follows:

  • As of Monday 23rd March Lothian Country will be moving to a Saturday Service timetable for all services.
  • As of Monday 23rd March First Bus will be moving to a Sunday Service timetable for all services.

I understand that both companies will be putting updated timetables on their websites and putting messages out via social media streams.  Further changes will be expected as staffing levels within the companies reduce however the extent of this is not currently known.”


Here is the West Lothian Council website for information on school closures here

Neil McCallum, Head Teacher from Balerno High School has sent this communication (please note some links apply to those living in Edinburgh City Council area and not West Lothian)

“Dear Parent / Carer,

I am writing to update you with information in regard to the government decision in relation to closing schools and the announcement this afternoon that there will be no SQA exam diet this year.

Current Guidance

I have just received the attached letter from Andy Gray, Chief Education officer for City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) (See below), please see this for further information, we are open as tomorrow (Friday) and will close to pupils at 12.30 as normal.

SQA Exam Diet

In regard to the news that there will be no SQA exam diet, we will be continuing to complete coursework tomorrow (Friday) and some subjects have assessments taking place, so it is vitally important that your child attend if they are fit to do so. We are continuing to collate information and will receive further guidance as to the processes that will be required to be completed to meet the requirements. The initial statement is that the SQA are still proposing to certificate on the 4th August. I appreciate that all parents and carers of pupils impacted by this decision will have a multitude of questions in regard to this and I appreciate your patience as we collate a document to share with you to answer as many of these questions as we possibly can.

Attached Documents

You should also have attached to this correspondence a number of attachments. There are two which all parents and carers of pupils attending CEC educational establishments will be receiving. The first is guidance around the Learning and Teaching that will take place in the coming weeks and the second one is in regard to the Additional Support for Learning service that is provided across CEC schools. The other documents are for S1 to S3 (BGE) pupils and this is a list of on-line resources that will support pupils to access learning at home. The second document is for S4 to S6 (Senior Phase) pupils to continue their learning in the period of our closure and to continue their learning with the National Qualifications. (These documents will have been sent to parents/carers and not included here) 

Skills Development Scotland 

Gillian Ross, our Careers advisor from Skills Development Scotland, has asked me to share the following information with you, so that pupils still have access to this service.

Message to pupils

Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the closure of the school, Skills Development Scotland cannot deliver career services face to face, but they are still there to help. You can contact your school Careers Adviser, Gillian Ross for career information, advice and guidance at, or visit

Message to parents

Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the closure of the school, Skills Development Scotland cannot deliver career services face to face, but they are still there to help. Your child can contact their school Careers Adviser, Gillian Ross for career information, advice and guidance at, or visit

You can also still access their career services. Call your local centre to speak to one of our qualified advisers. Find your nearest centre at

You can also find their services for parents/carers online at and

Wellbeing Advice

We are very aware at this time of the impact that this unique situation is having on everyone across our school community, so, we are keen to ensure that we respond to each individual situation. The following link has some good advice and information for young people:

Contingency Planning

We continue to plan our contingency should schools close to all pupils and we have to provide learning via online sharing of information. We are in the process of ensuring all young people have their password and log in to allow them to access all appropriate resources. This includes the log in to their school email and office 365 account in which all pupils have free access to all apps as part of this suite of applications.

Further information is available from;

or the school website

Again, I would seek your support and patience in allowing staff to update and upload material to the appropriate on-line resources. Staff have been working tirelessly to ensure continued education for our young people as well as contingency planning over this week. Given the dynamic nature of this situation, we will be sharing all our approaches from across the curriculum in a timeous manner.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our all our staff, teaching, admin, janitors, catering staff and cleaning team. They have shown outstanding professionalism and remained calm and responded to each situation with great flexibility. Your young people have been amazing and are dealing with this very well, showing great character and resilience. I would also like to thank parents and carers for your kind words of support and sharing of key information that will help us to support all our young people moving forwards.

I will be in touch again tomorrow to give you the most up to date information and to keep you informed of the proposals from the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council.

Take care of yourself and your family.

Yours faithfully

Neil McCallum

Head Teacher.

Below the letter from Andy Gray, Chief Education Officer at Edinburgh City Council

Dear Parent/Carer,
Firstly, may I thank everyone for the tremendous support you have given to our schools
and early years settings during these past few weeks. It has been a very challenging
period for all our teaching staff who have shown great resilience in keeping our settings
open during these very worrying times.
You will all be aware that the Scottish Government has announced that schools will close
by the end of tomorrow, Friday 20 March 2020. We realise that this may cause some
inconvenience but hope parents, carers and our young people will understand that the
country is facing a set of unprecedented circumstances.
We are working on arrangements which may support some key workers with childcare
from Monday 30 March. More details will be publicised on the Council website
Our teachers have been busy planning for school closures and a huge amount of work
has gone into preparing online learning opportunities so pupils’ learning and teaching can
continue. Your child’s school will have been in contact with you providing advice on
resources and how your children can use these to help them over the coming weeks.
There will be a particular focus on pupils who would have been sitting exams to make
sure their work is properly reflected in the evidence provided to the Scottish Qualifications
Authority to ensure their efforts are recognised in the certification process.
Families of children from P4 to S6 who receive Free School Meals, and those in P1 to P3
who are entitled to clothing grants, will receive a fortnightly electronic payment during
term time and the Easter Holidays equivalent to the cost of a school meal. Families of
children in P1 to P3 who have an income-based entitlement to Free School Meals and a
clothing grant will be contacted directly.
When we are informed that schools can re-open, we will follow Government and Health
Protection Scotland advice. You can be assured that the health of your children and our
staff is of paramount importance during this time.
Below is the link to the Coronavirus advice on the NHS Inform website:
I want to reassure you that the Council is doing all it can to protect and support our
Kind regards



One comment

  1. My mum was involved in originally setting up Kirknewton Playgroup in the late 1970s. Very sad to hear it will be closing permanently (although I know it has been an ongoing struggle to keep it viable for a long time now). My kids loved their time there when they were little. A sad loss for our community 😦

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