Parents, carers and families
Older parents and carers
73) Grandparents who are carers may find it more challenging to support remote learning.
- The distribution of devices and connectivity solutions may support these families.
Parents of children with a disability
74) The Family Fund Impact of COVID-19 survey, published in May 2020, included 232 families in Scotland seeking to understand how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting families raising disabled or seriously ill children. The findings showed that two in five families had lost income; the mental health and behaviour of children is being impacted; that the availability of both informal and formal support for children has been seriously reduced and that education is one of the most serious concerns.
Parents with a disability
75) Some parents with a disability may be cautious about their children adapting to remote learning, which could also impact their mental wellbeing.
- Parents with a disability may appreciate additional advice and support around how best to support their children through remote learning, or on whether their children may be eligible to attend school.
76) With women taking responsibility for a majority of childcare, the move to remote learning from January 2021, alongside reduced provision of breakfast and after-school clubs, is expected to have a greater impact on women and their working patterns than men.
77) Young children in particular may require supervision when at home, and it is likely that a greater part of this responsibility will fall to female members of the family. This is expected to impact on parents' ability to work, and may be particularly challenging for those who are experiencing poverty or who are lone parents, of whom the majority are women.
78) There are not considered to be any areas of this policy area that could disproportionately impact groups with this protected characteristic.
Pregnancy and maternity
79) Experts have warned Covid-19 has had a negative impact on maternal mental health beyond that seen in the general population, where reported rates of anxiety have more than doubled. With school-age children spending a greater amount of time at home, this could increase pressure on pregnant parents/carers who are supporting remote learning.
Language and communication
80) Parents and carers who speak English as an additional language risk being disadvantaged through not having a full understanding of the steps being taken or the approach to remote learning.
- Schools and local authorities should continue to ensure they communicate effectively with all families within their school community.
- Local authorities should continue to work with community sources to identify which community languages information should be shared in.
Religion or belief
81) There are not considered to be any areas of this policy area that disproportionately impact groups with this protected characteristic.
82) There are not considered to be any areas of this policy area that disproportionately impact groups with this protected characteristic.
Marriage & civil partnership
83) There are not considered to be any areas of this policy area that disproportionately impact groups with this protected characteristic.
84) Research from the Sutton Trust suggests that parents on lower incomes feel less confident to support home learning. It is also important to address access to resources, digital connectivity and communication as part of remote learning arrangements.
- Following government funding, local authorities are working to ensure disadvantaged pupils have access to a device and internet connection.
- There is information to support parents with learning from home available through Parent zone.
Free School Meals
85) For pupils not attending school in person, there is been a risk that eligible pupils may miss out on free school meals. This could also have had a negative impact on parents and carers through causing them worry or to go without food or other necessities themselves.
- Free school meal approaches have continued to be provided to all eligible children and young people throughout the period of school closures. Local authorities have also enabled anyone who, due to personal circumstances, thinks that they are eligible can apply for free school meals at any point. Latest data suggests that around 156,000 children and young people are currently in receipt of a free school meal approach – direct payment, voucher or home delivery.
86) A report by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has found that:
- Families have appreciated support with food costs from their schools and local authorities in alarming and difficult times.
- Families had positive experiences of all methods of FSM provision, but by far the highest levels of satisfaction were with direct payments to people's bank accounts. 81 per cent of families receiving payments say this works extremely or very well, and 90 per cent of these
- During the period of school closures local authorities' statutory duty to promote the availability of free school meals to eligible families continued.
87) There is not sufficient information available to understand whether there is a disproportionate impact on parents of school-age children in island communities, in comparison to parents in other regions of Scotland.
Gaelic medium education
88) Throughout lockdown and as schools reopen, it remains vital that parents are informed and updated on policy developments. This applies to the GME sector as well as the English medium sector, with Comann nam Pàrant taking a key role in supporting this work.
89) Throughout remote learning, it remains vital that parents are informed and updated on policy developments. This applies to the GME sector as well as the English medium sector, with Comann nam Pàrant taking a key role in supporting this work.
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