The OECD, in Education responses to COVID-19: an implementation strategy toolkit, states that 'School closures can have a negative impact on children, on learning and increase inequalities if governments do not effectively implement measures to ensure every child has sufficient resources to learn in good conditions, in particular in countries where non-school factors play a determinant role in learning outcomes'. These findings are in line with Scottish Government findings from the impact of school building closures equity audit in relation to COVID-19.
The Scottish Government recognises this, and made the difficult decision to implement remote learning for the majority of pupils in Scotland from January 2021, with schools remaining open for vulnerable and key worker children. Details of this policy have been published in the School reopening arrangements for January 2021 guidance and they are supported by the Education Continuity Direction.
The Scottish Government recognises that a shift to remote learning, albeit not the same as school closures, is likely to have a negative impact on many of Scotland's pupils and will create new challenges for the education workforce, and is taking measures to minimise that impact. Lessons have been learned from school closures in 2020, yet it is not possible to negate all negative impacts of a move to remote learning for most pupils. This document aims to explore the impacts, both positive and negative, of a move to remote learning for most pupils, with the intention of supporting ongoing policy development.