While Scotland responds to the coronavirus, learning at home is going to be a part of life for most children and young people. This can be particularly challenging if your child needs extra support to benefit from their learning. You may be finding it difficult to know what to do, or even where to start when it comes to helping your child learn while at home.
Try to remember that while education is important and should continue at home where possible, the most important thing right now is looking after your child and family’s health and wellbeing. However, if you are looking for some ideas or help with supporting your child’s learning at home, this page has some advice and links to resources and services that can help.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself - you are not expected to replicate school or become your child’s teacher. For some children and young people, learning at home will be a big challenge right now and it is okay if your child is finding it harder to learn as much as when they are in school. You and your child can only do your best in these difficult circumstances.
There is more advice about this on the Scottish Government's ParentClub website.
Although schools are currently closed to most pupils, they are still there to help support your child’s learning at home. They should be providing learning materials and resources to help your child learn at home.
The school should also still be taking account of your child’s individual needs and offering them extra support if they need it – even if this support looks very different to when your child is in school. If your child is disabled, the school also still needs to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make sure that your child isn’t disadvantaged compared to their non-disabled peers.
The school should also be keeping in regular contact with you and your child, to check in, find out how they are getting on, and update you on things like plans for returning to school that will affect your child’s education.
A large proportion of the learning that is being made available to families relies on internet access and use of devices like a laptop or tablet, or at least a mobile phone with data. This is leaving some families feeling cut off with their child unable to access the same learning as their peers.
If your child's school is only making learning available online, it is important to get in touch with them to explain your situation and let them know this isn't working for your child. It is possible they may be able to help you get access to a device or internet connection so your child can continue their learning online at home.
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 being sent home by the school relies on written instructions from their teacher, they may be finding it particularly difficult.
Again, if your child is struggling, it is important you contact their school to let them know and ask what the school can do to support their learning. 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 at home.
The first place you should be able to find learning resources is from your child’s school. Some local authorities are also producing 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.
With all the changes happening because of coronavirus – schools closing, needing to stay at home, not being able to see friends – many children and young people will be feeling worried, depressed or overwhelmed.
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 their learning at home.