Establish a short term national curriculum delivered digitally

Scotland could establish some simple online learning portals that deliver a short-term national curriculum. At present there are 32 local authorities with hundreds of schools and thousands of teachers each doing their own thing in trying to deliver education to our children under extremely difficult circumstances. However: - Children in Scotland are being taught in a huge variety of ways with massive differences in the quantity and continuity of lessons. There's no baseline about what kids are meant to get as home learning. - The most important thing for children - especially young children - is being able to see and speak to their teacher in real time, or at a minimum have regular and easy contact with their teacher. This would improve their mental wellbeing enormously and remind them of the world outside their homes. Education Scotland will not "flick the switch" on Microsoft Teams to allow teachers to speak to their pupils by video. Some schools have put in creative workarounds for this using other platforms but it is leaving some kids with nothing and other kids with everything. We can do better than this will the world of expertise we have in digital delivery and digital education in Scotland - we are meant to be world leaders in this? - A national curriculum delivered in one easy place would at a stroke create an even playing field and remove the current regional and local authority disparities. A common sense solution which could be done quickly and cheaply are a series of open access website (i.e. P1Scotland.com, P2Scotland.com, S3Scotland.com etc etc) that deliver a temporary national curriculum through: - Daily lesson plans - A few daily lessons delivered by a crack team of superstar teachers (we have a lot of them) either live or recorded. - A regular timetable and milestones for parents to try to hit if they can. Simple, easy, open access websites would: - Take away the horror of Glow. - Allow parents to access material when and how they need to - if they can't join in 9 - 3 they can catch up later or when the child is ready to learn. - If there are paper-based materials for the week ahead on a national open website then schools could print these and post to pupils / make them available for collection weekly, or parents with the means to do so could print these themselves. - Reduces the digital divide for parents in poverty - if these websites can be accessed anywhere including on phones then there's no need for laptops or tablets, and crisis grants from local authorities which have been increased through Scottish Government emergency funds could be used to pay for top up cards or increased data bills if the parent is using these to access education. - Guarantees some quality, continuity and consistency in teaching and learning so that schools and teachers don't have to try to do this themselves. - Schools and teachers can then focus on establishing contact with pupils, extra help and support, and pastoral care.

Why the contribution is important

A national curriculum delivered digitally would bring ease of access, equality of resources and teaching across Scotland. If lessons are being delivered online teachers and schools can stop trying to stage their own digital solutions, and concentrate on giving additional support to pupils. I think this system will have to be created anyway? for the children of people who are shielding - they will not be able to go back to school until there is a vaccine. If there's a second or third spike and schools in certain geographical areas have to be shut very quickly, this would be helpful to have up and running in any case? Also if schools are going to go back on a very gradual, very part-time basis, won't something like this be needed for the days when the kids are at home instead of at school so that the teacher doesn't have to prep that work as well? Lastly wouldn't a national curriculum not help with continuity as some kids of keyworkers are going to have to go somewhere when they aren't at part-time school? At the moment they are at Hubs. But when schools start their phased return, these keyworker kids will need something to do every day as it won't be possible for nurses and doctors and refuse collectors and social workers to do the phased return of a few hours here and there, they will still need "full time" places somewhere as they won't be able to pick up a child from a Hub and take them to their "real" school for an afternoon or a few hours on a couple of days a week? As will the kids of teachers, as they won't be able to nip out and get them from a half day if they are meant to be teaching or prepping all day at their own school ? We've all worked around the short school day by enlisting grandparents and friends and aunties and childminders to take on the shoulder hours while parents work, but without access to other households it will be really difficult to move pupils from one place to another to allow keyworkers to do a full day?

by JenJohnston on May 11, 2020 at 07:36AM

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Comments

  • Posted by AlJones May 11, 2020 at 09:01

    Huge disparity between schools. We got a letter that may as well have said ‘Good luck and bye’, with no email address and instruction to use it to keep in touch. We had a handful of resources that were difficult to use and very limited in scope. Some schools are being taught online everyday!!! It beggars belief that a school with only 8 pupils is not engaging fully with digital technology to teach. Argyll and Bute Council has a lot to answer for when this is over.
  • Posted by Longcroft May 11, 2020 at 12:12

    these children will be using more and more digital platforms in their world of learning and work. They need to learn how to use these platforms for learning. All schools should be engaging pupils somehow in this kind of learning. when you discuss this with others around the world other countries are using a variety of platforms to work with their pupils eg Zoom or Microsoft Teams. For the earlier years / larger classes the most might a wee contact call and see how we are getting on. For smaller classes / Upper high school groups there ought to be opportunities for blended learning. Many of the children will be using platforms like Zoom at home - schools can help them see other applications for this kind of technology. And as said above they can be used on phones
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