Those who have been getting extra help at school may have found it particularly challenging to learn while at home. Structure is important for many children and young people who have additional support needs. The change to their routine and worries about the situation puts additional pressure on parents and carers.
This new model of learning will be for many an additional challenge as their routine of a number of months will change once again. Information should be shared at the earliest stage, respecting parents’ views and taking account of the changing circumstances which may affect the ability of some parents and carers to support their children’s learning at home.
The reliance on home learning through electronic devices can potentially contribute to digital exclusion, particularly for families experiencing poverty.
Local authorities should look to identify and offer suitable support to these families and carers. The Scottish Government and local authorities have sought to support digital inclusion through the provision of funding to provide devices and connectivity. Many schools and local authorities are also seeking to find alternative solutions such as physical home learning packs.
Engaging with learners and gathering pupil feedback
Schools and settings will wish to build on their established arrangements for good quality dialogue with and communication with pupils about the new blended learning arrangements.
A variety of methods can help to gather pupil views, questions and issues, and can help to clarify and address difficulties prior to return. Pupil Councils, pupil panels and other pupil voice arrangements remain very important at this time. General advice on good principles and methods for learner participation is available from Education Scotland as well as a range of third sector organisations.
Authorities and settings may wish to consider the information and evidence available from available national level survey work with young people on COVID-19. This includes the work conducted jointly by Young Scot, Scottish Youth Parliament and YouthLink Scotland as well as guidance and information from Children’s Parliament and Children in Scotland.
Keeping children and young people safe online
The internet is central to our everyday lives and it has become even more so now. Using the internet should be a positive and fun place to interact with others and young people should be able to navigate the online world creatively and fearlessly.
However, it is also important that everyone around the children, including parents and carers, is aware and know how to keep safe online as well as what to do and who to contact if needed. A range of resources and guidance are available and can be found within the Annex under online safety.
Sources of support
The Parentclub website provides advice for parents and carers on the arrangements for returning to school. Education authorities may wish to consider signposting this to parents, alongside local and school information.