Fife’s army of teachers and school staff have been publicly thanked by the region’s education chief.
Teachers and co-workers are delivering remote learning for around 50,000 pupils across the region and manning schools for over 4,000 of them each day.
Carrie Lindsay, executive director of Fife Council’s education and children’s services, expressed her gratitude to staff as she outlined the region’s remote learning provision.
She said: “It’s not easy, this is something that nobody has ever experienced before.
“Schools have never been closed for this length of time even through the world wars.”
It’s not easy, this is something that nobody has ever experienced before. Schools have never been closed for this length of time even through the world wars.”
Carrie Lindsay, Fife Council education director
Due to increased infection rates and new variants of Covid-19, schools have been closed to all but children of key workers and vulnerable children since the start of this term.
An update is expected from the Scottish Government on Tuesday which Mrs Lindsay said would allow the local authority to plan further support.
The current situation will remain in place until at least mid-February, and it is expected that pupils may return in phases when it is deemed safe for them to do so.
‘Creative and innovative’
Mrs Lindsay said: “Our practitioners in school and the staff that support them in a range of ways will continue to be creative and innovative and as always will be putting children and young people first to make sure that this one and only chance at education they get allows them to continue their learning.”
Just over 4,000 children are still attending Fife schools and Mrs Lindsay said that meant that school buses were still running even if they had only a few passengers.
Updating the council’s education and children’s services committee, she said: “We had to keep all of our buses running in the first instance even if they were running with one or two, or in some cases no pupils, until we are absolutely sure we had the key workers’ children and the vulnerable children covered in terms of transport.
“This week we have reduced the number of buses quite significantly but it does still mean there will be some buses running with not too many children on them to make sure those children can get to school as expected.”
Over 5,000 laptops and devices have been issued to Fife children for remote learning, but Mrs Lindsay said pupils were not expected to be at a screen all day.
She stressed: “Remote learning is not about online and live lessons only, remote learning is about much more than that.
“It’s about what we can do to use all the tools we have as teachers or support staff to get our children learning.
“Some of that might be independent learning, some of that might be carrying out an activity.”
Training over the last few months had also enabled staff to deliver remote learning in new ways, she said.
“The feedback we’ve had on our remote learning is that it does seem to be much more positive this time round and where we have any cases that people are not as happy then we are supporting the schools to try to look at how they could do things differently.”