Coronavirus

Schools begin work to prepare pupils for social distancing and ‘blended learning’

By Ian Marland at

Glasgow’s education director has updated parents on plans to get the city’s pupils back to school.

Maureen McKenna said social-distancing was something schools will have to deal with for months to come.

Senior staff will this week begin laying plans for pupils to be taught some of the week at school – and some of it at home.

Maureen McKenna

Maureen McKenna. Photo: Scottish Government

This so-called ‘blended learning’ will be “very different for all of us”, she says in a letter to parents.

Ms McKenna thanks staff for their work to support pupils during lockdown.

She said senior staff were returning to schools this week, in line with guidelines.

General staff will begin to return next week – ahead of schools reopening from August 11.

Schools are still awaiting confirmation whether August 11 and 12 will remain in-service days with pupils returning Thursday August 13.

‘Blended approach’

She writes: “We are now working with headteachers to consider how we could phase some in-school learning.

“It is clear that social or physical distancing will remain as something we should all be practicing in the coming months.

“This will mean we will have to think differently about how we deliver learning.

“We are planning for a blended approach of in-school and learning at home.

“This will be very different for all of us and I understand that this temporary way of learning will mean that families need to make adjustments for work and childcare arrangements.

‘It is clear that social or physical distancing will remain as something we should all be practicing in the coming months.

‘This will mean we will have to think differently about how we deliver learning’

Maureen McKenna

“Our in-school learning will be small groups of children coming in for part of the week and learning at home for the rest of the week.

“Outdoor learning will be used wherever possible.

“Staff would also provide tasks/activities to be carried out at home and this will be set by teachers while children and young people are at school.”

She goes on: “We understand that this would mean some continued disruption for those of you who are working.

“I apologise for this but I am afraid in order for us to follow physical distancing advice from the government we would be unable to have all children in school at the same time for the time being.

“Given the different style of buildings and outdoor opportunities across the city, each school will develop their own plan that supports their school community needs as much as possible.

‘Appealing’

“We will be providing childcare for the children of keyworkers in line with government advice.

“Parents will have to apply for this. It will not be possible for this to take place in our school buildings so we are working with out of school care providers and other partners to consider how and where this can best be delivered.

“As our plans develop, we will keep you informed.

“We will also be appealing to employers to work with their employees to consider flexible working patterns to enable parents to care for their children on the days they are not in school.

“The advice remains that, where possible, children should be cared for at home when not in school.”