Remote Learning - Information and Guidance for Parents/Carers

January 2021

On 4 January 2021 the First Minister confirmed that the Scottish Government had decided to keep school buildings closed to the majority of pupils until 1 February 2021, and that most school pupils would learn at home, rather than in school.   This includes nursery provision, as well as primary and secondary schools.

This instruction will be reviewed in mid-January. This change applies to all of our children and young people except for key worker and vulnerable children that meet the criteria for learning in school as guided by the Scottish Government.  

This approach where children and young people are educated at home is known as remote learning.  Remote learning is learning that is planned and provided by teachers and undertakenby children and young people who are not physically with their teacher while learning is taking place.

Remote learning will not be exactly the same as face-to-face in school teaching – in style, approach or hours of delivery. Teachers will seek to provide a balance of live learning and independent pupil learning.

  • Live learning means any direct communication between teacher and pupil – via video, audio or text. 
  • Independent learning means learning activities which take place during periods when the teacher and pupils are not in direct communication.

What will remote learning look like?

It is important that parents and carers are clear on what remote learning is, what it means for their children and how they can continue to contribute positively and effectively to their children’s learning.  Below is a description of the types of approaches to remote learning which will be used by our teachers with our pupils over the coming weeks.  It is likely that your child(ren) will experience a combination of these approaches.

  • Live interaction between pupils and teacher.

This approach could be used in a number of ways:

  • the teacher leading learning with a whole class or group
  • the teacher delivering instructions and setting tasks for pupils to complete
  • the teacher leading or facilitating discussion with pupils
  • the teacher leading assessment of pupil learning, or supporting pupils to assess their own and others’ work
  • the teacher providing feedback and next steps to pupils

Live learning of this type may take place with cameras on and pupils and teachers in visual contact, or it may be audio-only.  Live learning can also take the form of text communication, via the messaging function on Google Classroom or other online applications.

Some teachers may provide whole online lessons live to pupils i.e. being live with pupils for an extended period like in normal classroom learning.  However, it is not recommended that remote learning should take this form for extended periods.

  • Pupils learning independently supported by live interaction with the teacher before and/or after such independent learning.

This approach will allow pupil learning to include:

  • completing set tasks
  • project or research work – investigating or observing
  • reading
  • practical work - doing, creating and inventing
  • problem solving
  • playing
  • learners working together / discussing via other virtual channels
  • preparing for a scheduled live interaction with their teacher
  • other activities that can be carried out away from a digital device.
  • Pupils learning independently, supported by tasks and learning activities posted by the teacher on Google Classroom or another online learning platform.

This learning would be similar to the independent learning described above, and may include an initial or later live interaction to discuss, assess and feedback to pupils on their learning.

  • Pupils learning through recorded or pre-prepared materials.

Learning of this type could include:

  • lessons or parts of lessons pre-recorded by the teacher (also allowing pupils who have missed any learning to access it in their own time)
  • links to useful websites, video or audio content to which the teacher has directed pupils as part of their learning
  • resources available via the National e-Learning Offer
  • and other resources from the Scottish Government and other Local Authorities.
  • Independent learning through physical materials supplied to pupils by their school.

There may be times when effective learning is best served through non-digital means.  Paper-based resources may have an important and positive role in ensuring effective provision to learners.

When such learning activities are required, schools will give clear guidance to pupils and parents / carers on how the work will be returned to teachers, and on how assessment and feedback to pupils on their progress will happen.

Advice and Support for Parents and Carers

Children and young people learning from home can be challenging for both you and your families.  Below is advice on how to make remote learning successful for your children, as well as a range of links to useful websites offering further information, advice and support.

Try to maintain a daily routine (adapted - Educational Endowment Fund, 2019)

a) Maintain sleeping habits (bed/waking times)

b) Encourage daily exercise.

c) Plan reading periods.

d) Plan socialising time (within the current Scottish Government guidance).

e) Plan time to discuss what your child has learnt each day.

Create a positive remote learning environment (Education Scotland, 2020)

a) As far as is possible, provide time and space for your child’s homeworking.

b) Show an interest in your child’s work and encourage them.

Be realistic and manage expectations (NSPCC, 2020)

a)    Your home is not a school and you cannot be expected to deliver a perfect curriculum. The class teacher retains responsibility for planning and organising children’s and young people’s learning, with learning supported by parents and carers.

b)    Do not expect every hour of the day to be filled with learning.

c)    Avoid comparisons with other families, who may exist in very different circumstances

Attendance and Engagement

The Scottish Government has placed a responsibility on schools to ensure pupils engage with learning at home and to prioritise the health and wellbeing of all children and young people. 

Therefore, schools will carefully monitor pupils’ attendance and engagement in home learning. 

If your child is unwell or absent from learning for any other reason, you should report this to the school through the usual process.

If your child(ren) is/are not present for online learning, or do not engage with the learning activities offered by teachers, and the school have received no communication from you, the school will contact you to offer appropriate support and ensure children’s wellbeing. 

If you have any questions, or if your child(ren) are experiencing any difficulties with their remote learning, support and guidance will be available from your school, which you can contact through the normal communication channels.

Resources for Parents and Carers

Other guidance can be found at the following links:

The following links supplied by our partners in Glasgow City offer helpful advice and guidance on accessing the digital platforms such as Glow, Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams: 

YouTube video: