Council offers advice to parents as home lessons resume

Working parents home-educating their children are being assured they need not try to replicate the entire school day.

That is the message from education officials at Hayfield House, who say home activities such as baking, arts and crafts as well as daily exercise are just as important as regular school work.

It comes as children start their lessons again following the end of the Easter break, with no clue when youngsters will actually be returning to the classrooms.

Parents are being asked to contact their school if they do not have access to a mobile device in their home so that the SIC can look into offering support.

The SIC acknowledged there are areas in the isles with limited access to broadband and connectivity.

Where this is the case, they say alternative arrangements for remote learning will be put into place.

The council’s children’s services department is also remaining in contact with the Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA), following the decision to cancel exams this year.

Instead of exams, teachers will be submitting estimated grades to the SQA based on young people’s progress and assessment results over the course of the year.

Pupils in secondary four to secondary six are being asked to continue to carry out tasks set for them and communicate digitally with their teachers.

Secondary settings will also continue to update parents on SQA developments.

In addition, arrangements are in place to support vulnerable children and children with complex additional support needs.

That includes regular communication between school staff and families. Outreach provision in a few school settings is being organised.

Quality improvement manager Robin Calder said: “All our schools are currently communicating with their parents and carers to explain arrangements for remote learning at home for children and young people over the coming weeks, including the use of Scotland’s education intranet, Glow.

“The measures in place will enable children to access learning materials on Glow, prepared by their teachers, communicate remotely with them, and receive feedback on their learning.

“Parents should contact their school if they require support or advice in supporting their children’s remote learning.”

He added further support and guidance on remote learning for staff, pupils and parents and carers was also available in the new Glow Blog, ‘Shetland Digital School Hub’ which offers information on health and wellbeing, online learning resources and professional learning options for staff.

Mr Calder added: “We recognise that many parents will be worried about the current situation. Parents should not feel pressurised to try and replicate the school day at home, especially when many are trying to work from home, or are employed in key worker roles.

“During the pandemic, the health and wellbeing of all families come first. Parents should encourage their children to have short periods of dedicated time during each day, engaging with the learning activities organised by the school, but just as important is that children get daily exercise and fresh air, in line with the government’s social distancing rules.

“Baking, reading, arts and crafts activities, and playing board games, all provide valuable learning opportunities.”

In addition, Shetland Islands Council is continuing to make provision for the children of key workers to ensure they can provide critical services during the pandemic.

Chairman of the council’s education and families committee, George Smith, said: “I fully endorse and thank all those involved in the education system in Shetland for the huge amount of work going on to maintain educational delivery and childcare for our key workers during this very challenging and worrying time.

“We look forward to when all our pupils can return to schools and be reunited with their friends and their teachers.”


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