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Coronavirus and additional support for learning

Support for children who are learning remotely

All children and young people should now be back to attending school. However, there may still be some situations when your child may need to learn remotely from home due to coronavirus. For example, if they need to self-isolate after developing coronavirus symptoms or if the school needs to temporarily close again due to a national or local increase in coronavirus.

If your child needs to learn remotely from home they still have a right to an education, and to get additional support with their learning if they need it.

In this section we will explain what your child’s school should be doing to support your child to continue with their education while they can’t be in school, how they should plan for when your child can return, and where you and your child can find some support during this time.

It might be difficult for your child if they are not able to return to school yet, but they see their siblings, classmates or teachers back.

It is important that your child’s school thinks about what not being in school will be like for your child and considers their wellbeing. Your child’s education is unlikely to be the same as what it would be if they were attending school, however your child still has a right to an education and the school should support them to access learning.

There will likely be some changes to what your child’s additional support for learning will look like compared to when they were in school or nursery. However, if your child, for whatever reason, needs extra or different help to benefit from their learning – their school or nursery still need to offer them support based on their individual needs.

Equality laws have not changed, and local authorities, schools and nurseries still need to make sure they are treating children and young people fairly and taking an inclusive approach. There is more information in our factsheet on ‘Inclusion, equality and wellbeing.’

It’s also important to remember you are not expected to become your child’s teacher. This is a difficult time for everyone, for many different reasons, so do not put yourself under too much pressure and ask for help when you need it.

The school should continue to support your child to benefit from a broad, flexible curriculum that builds on their existing learning. If your child needs extra help to access learning at home, the school should try to provide them with the support or adjustments they need. It is important that the school and other professionals listen to your child’s views when they are arranging their out-of-school education.

There is information about different resources and supports available to help your child learn at home below.

Your child may also find it helpful to have a look at our website for children and young people, Reach.scot. It includes advice for pupils who are learning at home.

While plans may need to change, where possible your child’s school should still be looking ahead and planning for supporting your child back to school when the time is right. For example, your child’s needs may have changes since they were last in school. Your child may also need extra support to settle back in, or to understand and follow new school rules if the rules have changed since they were last in school.

Depending on your child’s health and vulnerability to coronavirus, planning for their return to school may also include doing an individual risk assessment. This should look at what adaptions and supports are needed to keep your child safe when they return. If your child already has a risk assessment in place, this should be reviewed and updated to reflect current circumstances.

If your child needs on-going healthcare or learning support, you can ask for their healthcare or learning support plans to be reviewed. If they do not have a plan in place, you may want to ask the school to open one for them. There is more information on support plans in our factsheets on ‘Planning your child’s support’ and ‘Supporting pupils with healthcare needs’.

If you are concerned that your child needs more or different support to help them with their learning while they cannot attend school, or help them return to school, you can speak to their school about this.

Our factsheet on Working together with your child’s school has some helpful tips for working together with the school to get the right support in place for your child. If you have already tried this and you are still worried about your child’s support, our factsheet on Avoiding and solving problems explains what other things you can do.

A large proportion of the learning available to pupils not able to attend school relies on internet access and the use of devices like a laptop or tablet, or at least a mobile phone with data.

If your child's school is only making learning available online, it is important to get in touch with the school to explain your situation. It is possible they may be able to help you get access to a device or internet connection.

The school may also be able to deliver packs out to you with learning materials for your child that do not require online access. They may be able to suggest some other ideas for activities you can do with your child to support their learning too.

Some children with additional support needs will face different challenges when it comes to learning online or from a screen. For example, if your child has dyslexia and lots of the work sent home by the school relies on written instructions from their teacher, they may find this particularly difficult.

Again, if your child has been struggling, it is important you contact their school to let them know and ask what the school can do to support their learning out of school. CALL Scotland can also offer you advice and support about different technology and adaptions that can be used to help support children and young people with additional support needs learn out of school.

The first place you should be able to find learning resources is from your child’s school. Some local authorities have also produced things like online learning hubs with links to learning resources and supports.

If you would like some extra ideas on where you can find further resources, here are a few good places to start.

We have included some widely useful resources for all children with additional support needs, as well as some resources for children with specific support needs based on the enquiries we most commonly receive through our helpline.

The first place you should be able to get advice and support from is your child’s school. However, there are also lots of services out there that can offer you advice and support.

Some of these services may look a bit different during coronavirus, but many are still offering help even if it does look a little different to before the coronavirus. You can find out more information by visiting services’ websites or getting in touch with them.

If you are looking for services that support children with specific additional support needs, try looking at our Find a Service tool for places including Scottish Autism, Dyslexia Scotland and Young Minds.

If your child cannot attend school at the moment, it may feel strange for them and they might be feeling worried or left out.

If your child is not feeling okay, they can get advice and support to help them cope with the changes in their lives, including with not being in school.

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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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