Returning to School Education

Suggestions for returning to school education. I note a number of comments about moving the school summer holidays this year, enabling an earlier return to whatever education will look like in August. I think this is a good idea, as the efforts to deliver home schooling across the country appear to vary greatly from local authority area to local authority area, and it is impossible to quality assure this provision. However, this will take some negotiation with the teaching unions as the length of the school year is in the SNCT Handbook, and not in legislation. Perhaps the way to do this is to consider the ‘days of school closure’ which have been in place since the Pay Award Agreement of 2011. Since that Agreement teachers have had 40 days annual leave, but this is masked because of the school holidays. In putting children back into school, thinking needs to go in to what you do with them, once inside the building. I think decisions need to be made about the purpose of the return. It can’t be to traditional timetabled classes or an ordinary school days. The SG should perhaps, focus on the core principles of Excellence and Equity, in Scottish Education, and the areas of Responsibility for All in Curriculum for Excellence, namely Literacy, Numeracy and Well-being for any ‘classes’ and look the drop in/surgery type support for other subjects in secondary, where problems are sorted in small groups and further work set for completing at home. If the main risk is the social contact, consider how this can be minimised. Consider the whole footprint of a school and not just classroom space for use by children when they return. Minimise the movement of children and maximise the movement of adults. Zone schools off for particular year groups of children. Has consideration been given to the secondary aged children in Scotland who live in hostel accommodation during the week, or indeed for longer at a stretch. This will be difficult to manage. Can more daily travel for these young people be managed. In rural areas where dedicated school transport is the way to get to school and home from school due to distance, are there ways to explore whether it is possible for some parents can,I to assist here, and drop children at schools in a staggered rota. This does little for equity, I appreciate, but these are unprecedented times. Families without their own transport would then be the ones to use school transport. Rural areas also are likely to have schools with spare capacity, so it is important to think about that, and not put forward a model for some sort of a return which does not take account of differences across Scotland. Lastly, what work is being done to consider what this ‘lockdown’ time has taught us about our children’s education. What has happened that we need to hang on to? What have we been able to let go of, that should not be allowed to return.

Why the contribution is important

We need to have made the most of this opportunity to reflect on the delivery model of Scottish education, and not just return, when we can, to the way things used to be. Children’s well-being is what’s important, and their ability to enjoy feeling connected again. That the priority, not history, or home economics, or science.

by awjedwards on May 10, 2020 at 11:03AM

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  • Posted by whitesheep May 10, 2020 at 11:28

    Prof Spiegelhalter (statistician) made an announcement today on Andrew Marr show that the evidence for children at risk from the virus is minuscule. It is impossible to enforce social distancing with young children nor should we and we can only speculate at the long term benefits v harms this will cause now and in the future. We can however ensure frequent hand washing takes place.
  • Posted by SAR May 10, 2020 at 12:07

    I’m unsure how this would work. As you said “ teachers have had 40 days annual leave” the remainder is unpaid leave or “school closure”. Are you suggesting teachers work for free? And pay for their own childcare, transport etc while working for free?
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