3. Support for Teachers and School Leaders
What are we seeking to achieve?
Teachers and school leaders play a fundamental role in promoting and protecting the wellbeing and resilience of children and young people and ensuring that learning can continue in an appropriate way, wherever possible. Their response to events has been extremely positive. It is important that the wellbeing of school leaders, teachers and practitioners - particularly those sharing protected characteristics that may give rise to additional challenges in the context of working at home - is also prioritised by all partners. The professional workload generated by the unique demands being placed on our school and early learning and childcare settings is recognised and unnecessary bureaucracy must be avoided in order to maximise the focus on support and learning.
What support will be available?
Throughout Term 4, teachers and practitioners will require specific support and advice as they continue to engage with their learners. As always, support is managed at a school, cluster and local authority level. GTCS is also playing a key role in supporting the wellbeing of the profession with resources available via their website.
Education Scotland will continue to support teachers and practitioners to develop the digital skills to use online resources to support pupils' remote learning at home. It will work with partners to provide webinars and materials in curriculum areas and sectors, in addition to those already available on the National Improvement Hub. These will help reinforce and build teachers' and practitioners' skills and confidence in leading, preparing for and providing distance/remote learning and supporting pupils' learning at home.
Education Scotland will continue to support teachers and practitioners, including school and system leaders, to lead colleagues and teams remotely. In addition to developing the appropriate digital skills, teachers and practitioners will be supported to consider adaptive leadership approaches during times of crisis and to prioritise their own wellbeing and that of colleagues.
Education Scotland's key aims during Term 4 will be to build on the strong national and local progress since the closure of our schools to:
- provide additional resources for the curriculum and for professional learning in collaborative ways that complement and support the work undertaken by teachers and practitioners locally and regionally;
- continue to provide a range of Education Scotland PLL leadership programmes and the endorsement of professional learning programmes;
- enable further access for teachers and practitioners to national expertise and continue the support offered from regional teams;
- create opportunities for school and system leaders to develop new or different strategies to promote the health and wellbeing of themselves and the teams that they lead;
- further develop the knowledge and skills of teachers and practitioners to enhance home learning;
- provide through HM Inspectors regular updates of effective approaches to supporting learning at home that will help leaders, teachers and practitioners;
- continue to provide tailored support to local authorities and schools and share innovation widely;
- provide ongoing information and research from OECD and other national and international perspectives that may inform practice.
This work will reflect the expertise of colleagues nationally and globally, taking account of research and good practice, and focus on the following key areas:
- Health and wellbeing
- Learning, teaching and assessment
- Leadership of digital learning
- Learning at home
All of this work will be carried out in close partnership with schools and local authority colleagues to ensure the best support for practitioners and learners throughout Term 4.
These are uniquely difficult times for the whole of our society and those working in Scotland's education system have responded to the challenges we face with truly exceptional dedication and professionalism.
Given the extraordinary circumstances we all find ourselves in, we cannot predict with any certainty when schools in Scotland will reopen. What we can say, is that decisions as to the duration and combination of coronavirus-related restrictions are subject to regular review.
As we start this new term, the Scottish Government and Education Scotland will continue to work constructively with local authorities and all partners to continuously monitor and review the support in place, and ensure that children and young people's wellbeing and learning is prioritised in these challenging times.