Home schooling: These are the two Scottish areas that will offer no 'live learning' this lockdown

Research into lockdown learning has found a big variation in what councils across Scotland are offering to pupils.

Most pupils will be based at home until February at least but research has found a wide variation in the style of learning pupils will be afforded while at home.
Most pupils will be based at home until February at least but research has found a wide variation in the style of learning pupils will be afforded while at home.

The latest Covid “Stay at home” rules mean only vulnerable pupils and children of key workers will be going to school when the new term starts tomorrow, with most pupils based at home until at least February.

A majority of Scottish local authorities said live lessons via computer would be part of a "mix" of remote learning provision, which would also include recorded sessions and independent study for pupils.

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But Midlothian and Orkney told the BBC they would have no live lessons, while West Lothian said there was "potential" for live lessons but individual staff would decide the most appropriate method of delivery.

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It was reported on Saturday how Edinburgh had lifted a ban on the use of the camera function on the Microsoft Teams system used by schools, meaning live lessons were now allowed, but the council warned parents video-conference-style classes would not be the norm.

The BBC survey found that in Glasgow live video lessons would be part of the mix in secondary schools, while East Renfrewshire said schools would use a range of different methods which "might" include live lessons and in Dundee and Renfrewshire provision was being worked out on a school-by-school basis.

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Another survey, by the Sunday Times, found 19 of Scotland's 32 councils set to offer live lessons to primary pupils and 22 offering them to secondary pupils.

Lindsay Paterson, professor of education policy at Edinburgh University, said councils were providing “32 very different solutions”.

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He told the Sunday Times: “Research has shown that Scotland was near the bottom of the league table of UK regions for what was provided in the first lockdown with many pupils receiving nothing. So the idea that there are 32 different solutions instead of a strong national offering is absurd, a dire postcode lottery for many.”

But Education Secretary John Swinney rejected the idea that the Scottish Government should have adopted a more standardised approach to remote learning and said a vast amount of support had been developed since the first lockdown in March.

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In a TV interview, he said: "Last June we launched the national e-learning off and as a result of collaboration between the government, local authorities and Education Scotland we have a range of online learning facilities available to deliver live lessons and recorded lessons and there is tutorial support for pupils in the senior phase.

"Decision-making about pupils and their education is best undertaken by individual schools and schools will be in the vanguard of delivering online learning and remote learning to pupils the length and breadth of the country. Different pupils are at different stages in the curriculum, they’re doing different topics. It would be completely impossible and actually counter-productive for the government to impose a national approach to all of this activity. What we have got to make sure is our educators are supported with materials.

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"I’m confident good measures have been put in place. We have also invested £25m in making sure young people who did not have access to digital devices have got access to those devices and supporting local authorities in the delivery of all of that technology.”

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