Nicola Sturgeon accused of failing state-school pupils during Coronavirus lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon accused of failing state-school pupils during Coronavirus lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon plans to reopen schools on August 11, but with a combination of in-school teaching and at-home learning. But the Scottish government is facing a backlash from critics claiming that state schools pupils have been let down and not getting the appropriate learning they need.

They claim many private schools have continued to give lessons in core subjects including Maths and English but state-run schools have relied heavily on handouts with little interaction with students.

At the same time, parents have also complained that homeschooling their kids has affected their ability to work effectively from home.

Jamie Greene, Scottish Conservative education spokesman warned teachers and parents had seen “very little leadership” from education leaders.

Mr Greene told The Sunday Times Scotland: “There is no doubt that the attainment gap in Scotland is going to suffer further from this crisis.

“The government has a duty to ensure that no child in Scotland is left behind, irrespective of which school they go to.”

Eileen Prior, executive director of Connect, previously the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, added: “Some have had literally zero contact with the schools, while others are being overwhelmed by the quantity of material they are bombarded with.

“We have to assume things will not return to normal soon, and that there is a need to deliver the best learning plan for our children, to avoid them being left behind.”

Ms Sturgeon said the government is still working on ways to mitigate the challenges some parents will face when at-home learning becomes a key part of the reopening of schools.

READ MORE: Scotland schools reopening: Minister outlines plans to get pupils back

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily virus briefing on Friday, she continued: “Subject to health advice, we have the agreement that teachers will go back to work in June to start working through what the next term looks like, and what this new model of learning will look like.

“Over the summer, we will be discussing with parents’ organisations, teacher organisations, unions, local authorities and employers about how we try to work in a way that tries to align all of the different things we’re doing well enough to mitigate these issues.

“We will communicate directly with all parents over the summer so that they’ve got a better understanding of exactly what schooling is going to look like and some of the support that we will try to put in place to help parents with the fact that it will not be back to school absolutely as normal.”

Education Secretary John Swinney earlier added that employers will have to be “flexible” with parents whose children have to learn from home when schools return in August.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland, Mr Swinney said: “Our route map is predicated on lots more people continuing to work from home to contribute towards the work of their employers.

“We are not going to return to a pre-Covid normal of how schools or businesses operate.

“What this will require is employers to be flexible about the way in which they’re asking their employees to engage in work.”

Published at Sun, 24 May 2020 14:25:00 +0000