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Coronavirus and additional support for learning

Coronavirus has had a big impact on the whole of society and on the education of Scotland’s children and young people. Some children and young people have found learning through coronavirus particularly difficult. Some children will have experienced bereavement or other difficult family circumstances. Others may have struggled with changes to school life, like different rules that have been in place to help reduce the risks of coronavirus, and the disruption of having periods of learning at home.

If your child, due to coronavirus or any other reason, needs additional support with their learning – they have a right to receive it. There is more information in our factsheet on ‘Additional support for learning: Key facts.’

Below we have answered some of the key questions families have asked us about how coronavirus might continue to affect their child’s education and support.

Local authorities, schools and nurseries have been working hard to make sure it is safe for your child to attend school or nursery while Scotland continues to respond to coronavirus. Everyone is aware of the risks and should follow the latest Scottish Government guidance on reducing the risks in schools and early learning and childcare services.

Routine protective measures still need to be in place to reduce the risks of coronavirus. These include:

• staff and other adults being encouraged to get vaccinated
• children and young people aged 5 and over being offered vaccinations
• risk assessments being kept up to date and regularly reviewed
• pupils and staff self-isolating if they feel unwell, have tested positive for coronavirus or have been asked to self-isolate (in line with NHS Inform guidance)
• hand-washing and good hygiene, and
• keeping rooms well-ventilated (while making sure schools and nurseries are at an appropriate temperature).

If your child has health needs that mean staff support them with aerosol generating procedures or other personal care procedures where there is blood or other bodily fluids, staff should still wear face coverings and/or other PPE as appropriate. An individualised risk assessment should help plan what will be needed to keep everyone safe.

If your child is on the Highest Risk List, your child can follow the same advice as for the rest of the population, unless a health professional has advised otherwise.

Many of the restrictions and requirements from the last two years will no longer be required. For example, your child’s school or nursery no longer need to:

• require pupils or staff to wear face coverings or masks (including on school transport) – though pupils and staff who want to continue to wear them should be supported to do so
• ask staff and senior pupils to do twice-weekly asymptomatic LFD tests at home
• use physical distancing rules or one-way systems
• have staggered pick-up, drop-off, break and lunch times
• restrict things like P.E., music, drama or school assemblies
• restrict visits to school from other professionals, like educational psychologists or health staff
• not allow you to visit school or attend meetings in person to discuss your child’s additional support.

If your child needs to self-isolate at home, the school should work with you to make sure they get support to continue with their learning from home, if they are well enough.

For more information about this see our factsheet on When your child is too unwell to attend school.

Local authorities, schools and nurseries have planned for how to respond if there is a change in the coronavirus situation again. They will try to limit any impact on your child’s education and wellbeing, as much as possible.

For example, mitigations like requiring facemasks could be reintroduced. However, your child’s school or nursery should keep you up to date with any changes. We’ll also keep this section of our website under review.

Exams for National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers are happening this year. If your child has additional support needs, they should have the arrangements they need to ensure they are given a fair opportunity to evidence what they’ve learned (for example extra time, or access to technology).

In recognition of the amount of disruption there has been to all pupils’ learning during the pandemic, the SQA have also provided extra support this year in the run up to exams. For example, letting schools know what topics won’t be in the exams so your child can focus their revision more.

Your child’s school should be keeping them up-to-date on any arrangements, and the SQA also have lots of information on their website you and your child can look at, including about appeals.

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Resources/Advice for Young People/

Our service Reach has bitesize, easy read advice to help you talk to your child about their learning and support during coronavirus.

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