Communicating with families
Local authorities and schools should ensure arrangements are put in place to communicate what the phased return from 22 February means for individual families as soon as is practically possible, and continue to communicate regularly thereafter. Consideration should be given to matters such as the needs of separated parents (having regard to the appropriateness of both parents being provided with information), parents for whom English is an additional language and parents/carers with disabilities. The importance of adhering to mitigations should also be reinforced with all members of the school community.
Work is also underway with partners at national level to develop information for children, young people and their families about the phased return; for both families with children returning to nursery and school from 22 February and those with children continuing to learn at home. It aims to provide clarity for parents, school staff and children and young people on how the scientific evidence/clinical advice translates into Government decisions and help to reduce anxiety for children, young people, parents and school staff through positive messaging on what is in place (testing, vaccinations, other mitigations etc). The importance of compliance with all protection measures (in school and in the community) will be integral to this.
Guidance for early learning and childcare settings, schools and local authorities on communicating with and reporting to parents during COVID-19 and supporting parents and pupils with learning at home during COVID-19 is available on Education Scotland’s National Improvement Hub.
Information to support parents includes:
- a Parent Club COVID-19 microsite, which contains advice on working from home whilst caring for children, advice on helping children with remote and blended learning as well as links to advice and support resources for parents of children with additional support needs
- Education Scotland’s Parentzone Scotland website includes advice for parents, families and practitioners on supporting children and young people’s learning during COVID-19
- the National Parent Forum Nutshell guide on blended learning, published in August 2020. This joins further Nutshells on Supporting Learning at Home during “lockdown” and on online safety
- Education Scotland’s Scotland Learns initiative provides newsletters and online resources for teachers and for parents/carers
When children and young people are learning at home, schools and local authorities should ensure communication with families to maximise engagement in learning, offering any support or advice that may be needed. This may include, for example, local authorities working to ensure provision of devices and/or internet connectivity where necessary.