COVID-19 – Supporting a phased return to educational settings

COVID-19 has brought huge challenges and changes to all our lives and the experience of learners during this unprecedented time will vary greatly. Learners may find coping with the uncertainty and significant changes to their educational experiences and routines particularly stressful and challenging. However, some learners may have experienced some positive aspects when they have been learning at home. 

Learners may need individualised planning for the transitions ahead. The approach taken needs to take account of context and be relevant for the learner’s school stage and developmental level. It will be important to listen to families and learners about their experiences of learning at home. This will support transition planning, building on strengths and skills which learners may have developed during this time and also identifying areas which may require additional support due to the unprecedented situation.

Information and Guidance to support transitions – Scotland Learns

Information, guidance and resources to support practitioners, learners and families during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on Education Scotland’s Corporate website and the National Improvement Hub. Scotland Learns has been developed in response to COVID-19 and has a wide range of ideas and suggestions of activities to help parents, carers and practitioners support learning at home and weekly newsletters for parents and carers and for practitioners.

Specific guidance, information and resources have been developed by Education Scotland to support transitions for learners who require additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Select ‘here‘ to access the link.  

Scottish Government COVID-19 Guidance

Scottish Government. Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance on preparing for the start of the new school term in August 2020

Guidance to support a safe return to school for all children, young people and staff taking full account of progress made in suppressing COVID-19 in Scotland, the scientific advice received and the advice of the Education Recovery Group and other key stakeholders. Select  ‘here’ to download the document. 

Scottish Goverment Guidance for face coverings in schools. 25.08.20

Guidance for pupils and staff on the use of face coverings in schools and on school transport has been updated.Select ‘here’ for further information. 

Scottish Government. Coronavirus (COVID-19): reopening schools’ guidance, Scottish Government.   

Guidance for local authorities and schools in their planning for a safe, phased opening in August 2020.Select ‘here’ to download the document. 

Scottish Government. Coronavirus (COVID-19): reopening schools guidance, Scottish Government

Non-statutory guidance for local authorities and schools in their planning for a safe, phased opening in August 2020. Select ‘here‘ to download the document. 

Excellent and Equity during the Covid-19 pandemic – a strategic framework for reopening schools, early learning and childcare provision in Scotland.

Excellence and Equity during the Covid-19 pandemic – a strategic framework for reopening schools, early learning and childcare provision in Scotland. 

This strategic framework “Excellence and Equity During the COVID-19 Pandemic” has been jointly developed by the Scottish Government and local government, with crucial support from key partners across the education system including the Education Recovery Group, established in April 2020. Select ‘here‘ to download the document. 

Back to School

The National Parent Forum of Scotland has published some advice for parents and carers called ‘Back to School’. This guide will answer as many concerns and questions as possible about the new school term and give parents and carers a better idea of how the new school term will look and feel for children and for parents and families. Select ‘here’ to download the document. 

Engaging with learners – Supporting Mental Wellbeing

During the lockdown  a number of surveys have been carried out with learners highlighting a range of areas which are causing concern for some learners.  Supporting the wellbeing of all learners is a key priority as schools welcome back their pupils and support their transition from an extended time at home to educational establishments. The following information below provides insight into how learners have felt during this difficult time. 

NEW: Back to School online resource 

The Children’s Parliament launched Back to School, an online resource for schools to support a rights-based approach to recovery.

The resource has been designed to help school staff to understand children’s experiences of lockdown and their wellbeing needs in the current context. The practical activities will support conversations between children, and between children and adults in school, giving time and space to pause, reflect and then recover. 

What’s in the resource?

  • Information from children (aged 8-14) about their experiences of lockdown
  • A range of practical, creative, and rights-based activities designed to promote the recovery and wellbeing of children (P4 – S1/S2)

Who is the resource for? The resource has been designed for teachers and other school staff who will be supporting children’s recovery and wellbeing over the coming weeks and months.

How was the resource developed? The resource has been shaped by school staff and is a response to what children across Scotland have been telling us about their experiences of lockdown. The resource was funded by the Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund.

Further information is available at 

NEW: SHINE (Schools Health and Wellbeing Improvement Research Network) 

TeenCovid Life Survey

SHINE published the results from their TeenCovidLife Survey on 10th August 2020. The survey highlights that the number of learners feeling lonely as 3 times higher during lockdown compared to pre-lockdown levels

Select ‘here’ to download the infographic highlighting the results from the TeenCovid Life survey

Select ‘here’ to download the TeenCovid Life summary survey results

Select ‘here’ to download the TeenCovid Life full survey results

Further information On SHINE and access the survey can be found here 

Approaches and Resources

COVID-19 has created an unprecedented situation through the

  • Closure of school buildings during term 4
  • The return to educational settings beginning in August 2020

Families and learners will understandably have concerns regarding the identification, support and monitoring of dyslexia and literacy difficulties. For example:

  • A learner may have been due to begin the identification pathway in Term 4 but this has not been able to take place
  • During time at home, families may now have concerns/think their child may be dyslexic.

Opportunities should be given to share concerns and queries during the transition planning. 

Below are a range of frequently asked questions sent to the Toolkit Working Group 

Frequently asked questions and answers