Dealing with parental expectations of home schooling has been a challenge for local authorities, inspectors have said.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors of education (HMIe) produced a report on learning from home in Scotland’s schools as a result of the most recent lockdown that was put in place earlier this month.
The 14-page report singles out how parents believe schooling should be done as a key issue for schools.
“(Councils) are finding parental expectation regarding both remote learning and in-school attendance challenging,” the inspectors said.
“Local authorities are acutely aware of the pressures and demands on families as lockdown continues.
“For some, this may be related to unemployment or working from home. For other families, they may not feel confident in supporting their child’s learning at home.
“All this can combine to create unrealistic expectations of remote learning.
“The management of parental expectations is an ongoing issue that local authorities are taking steps to address through regular communication and awareness raising.”
The report also raises the issue of internet connectivity as a concern but said councils were “taking steps” to find ways around the issue where it is impacting learners.
“Digital connectivity is a challenge in a number of areas, and in particular the most remote and rural localities.
“Poor bandwidth and digital infrastructure, and unreliable connectivity for teachers and children and young people are limiting access to online approaches to remote learning.
“Where this is an issue, and where children and young people cannot access devices, local authorities are taking steps to ensure learners acquire resources to support learning at home.
“This includes delivering learning packs to children’s homes, providing a safe ‘collection point’ in school buildings and leaving resources for pick up locally.”
The report also praised schools in a number of areas, including in learning from and improving its digital offering compared to the first lockdown towards the end of the last academic year and the use of innovative techniques.
Education Secretary John Swinney said: “I am pleased that the report shows that local authorities have built on what they learned during the previous period of school closures, that schools are positively embracing remote schooling and are using innovative methods to deliver learning for their pupils, including virtual learning environments and virtual schools or academies.
“These are providing learners with the opportunity to access learning at times that best suit them and allow for reinforcement and extension of learning.
“The report also highlights key areas for improvement, which will be discussed constructively with our partners. Local authorities can also draw on the £45 million package that I announced earlier this month to support remote learning.
“Over the coming weeks, Her Majesty’s Inspectors will review what is working well based on information that is collected from varied sources, including engagement with schools.
“The next reports will focus on the experiences of schools; and parents, carers and learners who will be surveyed for their views this weekend by Education Scotland.
“I would encourage families to get involved and provide feedback, which help shape how remote learning is delivered.”