Edinburgh parents blast 'derisory' half day week return for S1 - S3 pupils

Angry parents brand half day a week return to schools for S1 – S3 pupils ‘derisory’ as MSP backs concerns over cut in online lessons.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 3:10 pm

Parents said they feel let down as school pupils returning for only half day a week will also miss out on remote learning, as schools said they can’t keep it going while teachers resume the limited classes.

The first to third year group is the last to return to school this week in the latest phase of lockdown easing.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said giving pupils even a short amount of time in school would have benefits.

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Edinburgh pupils S1 to S3 return for half day a week

Some parents were told to expect a "much reduced” online offering up to Easter, while teachers take classes.

But parents in group 50/50 took to social media to brand the half day a week “disappointing” and “a nightmare” after they were told online lessons will stop during the next few weeks.

Mum-of-two Louise McSorley said: “My 12-year-old in S1 and 14-year-old in S3 will suffer. We were told in advance that a half day a week would be the minimum. And that’s what they get for weeks. It’s as if they’re an after thought. It’s not going to make any difference to their education or to us as working parents.

"It’s derisory and the benefits will be negligible. The live lessons will stop altogether. So they will have to struggle without support. The school said staff will be focused on the half day face-to-face teaching. Online lessons were already limited. It’s not acceptable. Why can’t they do both? We feel so let down.”

One mum, whose 14-year-old daughter is autistic, said: “My daughter stayed out of classes on her first day back. It’s teachers she doesn’t know. And back home teachers are not available to help her online. It doesn’t work especially for those who have support needs. It will be to her detriment. And our school sent us a letter saying this is ‘the worst of all options’ for them.”

Ruth Davidson MSP for Edinburgh Central said: “I’ve raised this issue with the First Minister and I’m disappointed it was dismissed. I brought concerns of parents who feel the return of a half day a week is a token gesture. The teaching time is so small and in return for it the face-to-face learning online now won’t happen. So they are giving with one hand and taking with the other. Pupils have missed out on so much already, a third of the school year. The 2m distancing rule will continue to create significant issues with resources if classes have to be split to accommodate that. Schools can’t cope, they need the proper time to prepare, resources and the infrastructure. There needs to be a more sensible return to classrooms.”

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson said: “Our high schools are offering as much face-to-face teaching as possible within the terms of the national guidance set out by the Scottish Government. These include the new measure of two-metre physical distancing for all secondary age pupils at all times indoors. The priority is for face-to-face lessons for senior phase pupils who are taking national qualifications and although the minimum requirement is one half day a week most of our schools are providing more than this.”

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