Return to school

Returning to school - I cannot see how this can be done whilst there is still a need for social distancing. Practically, even with reduced numbers it is not possible to socially distance in school and this is evident within our hub sites with hugely reduced numbers. Even simple things like sitting the children down at lunchtime - we did not have room for 20 children to sit 2m apart in the dining room let alone 400. Learning is also not a passive activity. Learning is creative, messy, collaborative, challenging and hopefully fun. The days of sitting at single desks whilst the teacher talks and hope the children learn through osmosis are gone (hopefully!) as we use more research based approaches to pedagogy in our schools these days. If we are asking the children to return we need to be thinking about what the curriculum design looks like if we are still asking children to socially distance. There needs to be enough cleaning materials and processes in place as everything needs disifected regularly- pens, lego, doors, tables etc. First aid- this cannot be administered in a social distancing manner. Comfort- our youngest children need reassurance and physical comfort , it is morally wrong not to be able to provide that for them. Transitions- there are some examples of good practice across many local authorities which could be exemplified and many settings do transition events throughout the entire school year. My concern is not how our children might manage academically moving into the next session- we take our children and meet them where they are regardless. It is however, critical that the priority upon return is wellbeing first. There needs to be a shared understanding that nurture, health, wellbeing and relationships are central to everything we do. Vulnerable children- seems to be a blurring of the lines from the public as to what the role of schools and social work are. Schools are already open here for vulnerable children and staff are in very regular contact with vulnerable families where I am. Relationships here with other services are also good but I would imagine that is not necessarily the case everywhere. Good practice guidance would be helpful for across scotland to support local authority decision making. Early learning and childcare provision- there needs to be work alongside care inspectorate around what registration numbers and ratio guidance looks like if working with social distancing. Some of our elc settings have up to 55 children in one setting at a time. Our youngest children also need to experience the full range of activities on offer so they are engaged and learning. These first transitions shape those that come later so making sure nursery is a positive experience is important. Staffing- regular ,known faces in schools are crucial. Rota systems which have been absolutely necessary to run the hub provision has its own issues- children need familiar faces that know them. Lots of faces is also a child protection concern in that we could miss things that require following up. We would need to ensure that schools had enough qualified staff who were not shielding etc. Blended learning- if a mix of face to face and online learning is going to take place, then there would need to be a group of teachers who were not at the chalk face doing the online learning part as it is as time consuming as the class part. Teachers cannot do both at the same time. What this would look like, for example, in our small schools where there is already very limited staff I do not know. There may need to be work done on a cluster basis. Tech - schools here have ensured children have access to technology. This should be the case across the board. Support for parents on how to use the tech would help and could be done on a local level. There could be far better use made of the outdoors and the learning opportunities that presents- this would be one way to support ELC and numbers of children. We are lucky in Scotland to have some excellent educators who could play a pivotal role in what this could look like across the school context and to support quality assurance and build capacity amongst staff. If schools are to reopen to significantly more children there will need to be reassurance from the scientific evidence that it is safe to do so. I noticed our education secretary and the EIS were sharing articles from the Telegraph - we should be basing our educational policy and practice on science, not the view of journalists.

Why the contribution is important

Because the health and welfare of our children is hugely important.

by bluebird19 on May 09, 2020 at 11:25PM

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Average rating: 4.4
Based on: 11 votes


  • Posted by petermuir79 May 10, 2020 at 08:54

  • Posted by Sarahj May 10, 2020 at 09:46

    Agree! It will also take time to settle these children back in before any academic learning should be focused on. Settling in children also cannot be done at a social distance! And if children aren’t spreading the virus there is still the issue of how to socially distance staff who because of ratios need to be in close proximity.
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