Complexities of Remote Learning

The Scottish government has outlined a plan for school kids to return to classrooms full time after the 22nd of February

The plan is for kids in primary one to three to return fully whilst older children will be on a part time basis to see them through their national qualifications.

Remote learning has become the norm for students from Primary school to university level in Scotland, creating a challenging learning environment.

This has forced widespread adaptation from teachers, students and parents to help mitigate the ongoing situation. This can have damaging effects across the board. Dawn Chilton is a single mother of two and works full time, she expressed concern for her son, who is it at a critical exam stage of his school career.

“My son has now lost out on two years of not being able to sit exams that will help to progress to what he wants to do after school, it has caused him to be anxious about what his future looks like”

“I think it may be having an effect on children’s overall mental health and social well-being”

Dawn has had to cut her hours down from her frontline job to help care for her sons and finds herself under considerable stress to ensure they are engaging in their work.  

This is a story that may be familiar for parents across the country and scratches the surface of a collective anxiety for child welfare in an unprecedented world.

In January, Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon requested that HM Inspectors of Education (HIME) produce a weekly overview account on how schools are performing under remote learning circumstances in an attempt to establish dialogue between the government and local authorities. These reports look at what primary, secondary and special schools are doing and whether they are finding success.

Support for families is one of the key talking points the reports are looking at, this can be particularly challenging when trying to compensate for “children and young people with complex additional support needs”, for example, there are children who may not have English as their first language; Cuthbertson Primary School in the Glasgow City Council authority has offered daily and weekly live lessons and support groups to help with this. Their headteacher reported maintaining continuity was a priority for these students who have been given access to Urdu or Eastern European interpreters, a resource that is viable for these students.

This is a single example of the complexity’s schools are currently having to navigate around, and there are many to consider. The report shows communication between the government and schools in the hope of improvement over the coming months to focus on what can be done better and what is being achieved.

For parents like Dawn, they will hope to see a return to normality sooner rather later but at the same time will be hoping that their children’s well-being is observed to the fullest extent and the government plans on acting on their findings and research.

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