Parents fear that a return to school part-time would harm their children’s education, a survey has found.
Some 75% of parents of secondary school children and 71% of parents of primary school children said that blended learning would have a potentially negative impact.
A third of parents also said they did not have the equipment, support or advice for school work at home.
The Scottish Government is expected to confirm on Thursday that pupils will return to class full-time in August, almost five months after schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, blended learning models which would see children attend school part-time and learn at home remain in place as a contingency in the event of further lockdown restrictions.
Parents worried about pupils’ return
Following its survey of almost 8,000 parents and carers, parents’ organisation Connect has called for schools and nurseries to set out clearly communicated plans for schoolwork at home and to be ready to respond to learning needs during any local lockdowns rather than taking a ‘pick-up where we left off’ approach.
The research into how families have fared since schools closed also found that 41% of parents were worried and 10% were very worried about the return to school or nursery.
Some 49% of respondents said their child’s school or nursery had communicated well with them, while 40% said they had done okay but could have done better.
Help must be appropriately targeted in the face of possible future local lockdowns and we must address the challenges of blended learning if school work is to be done at home.”
Eileen Prior, Connect
Eileen Prior, Connect executive director, said: “The intention of the survey and report is for us all to be able to learn from the experiences of families during lockdown.
“The priority is to make sure families in Scotland are properly supported throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Help must be appropriately targeted in the face of possible future local lockdowns
and we must address the challenges of blended learning if school work is to be done at home, and alternatives for learning must be provided for children and young people who cannot do school work at home.”
Multiple struggles for families
The survey, she said, illustrated families faced multiple struggles, navigating ill health, caring for young children and children with additional support needs, financial stress and a lack of equipment for home learning.
She said: “We cannot have children and young people overburdened with responsibility as they move between home and school.
“Families are all very different; Scottish Government and local authorities have relied on schools to know their families and their children, to communicate effectively and to provide help and support where it is needed.
“We need to be confident that schools do know their families. Relationship-based approaches between families and school staff are the only way to shape and provide support in ways that work for families and children.”
If that means the rest of us have to make some sacrifices… then that will be in the interest of getting young people back to school.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
During her daily briefing on Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was not surprised by the results of the survey and that the government had sought to minimise and mitigate the impact.
She said: “I am deeply concerned about the impact of the handling of Covid and the impact of lockdown on the education and wellbeing of our children.”
The government’s key objective, she said, was now to get children back to school full-time.
She said: “If that means the rest of us have to make some sacrifices around things we would love to be doing, but can’t do for a period, then that will be in the interest of getting young people back to school.”