Midlothian returning pupils supported for remote learning

As pupils returned to remote learning on Monday at the start of the new term, Midlothian Council confirmed it has supplied 3,800 Chromebooks and 54 4G dongles for pupils to work online since the start of the pandemic.

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 7:10 am
Children across Scotland returned to home learning this week. Photo by Scott Louden.

The drive to provide all school-age children with a device, if required, and to make sure they can access the internet, will support online lessons, including live teaching sessions where appropriate.

Newbattle High School has already confirmed its live lessons timetable and teachers who want to will do so in other schools across Midlothian, and will also offer live lessons where appropriate.

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Jim Muirhead (Lab) said: “We have made every effort to ensure all of our pupils – more than 13,000 young people, can continue to learn safely at home.

“There’s been an awful lot of work gone into providing around 3,800 devices to the pupils who didn’t have a computer, tablet or Chromebook at home. The council has paid for around 2,500 of those devices and the Scottish Government has funded around 1,300.” Cllr Muirhead welcomed the pupils and staff back at the start of the new term.

“As well as offering a mix of live and other online learning, teachers will also be working with pupils to make sure they can access and complete their tasks,” he said.

“We realise this is a very challenging time for our young people and we want to stress that support is available and our committed education staff are doing all they can to provide the best quality possible online learning experience.

“The education service and schools will continue to respond to parent and learner feedback to improve support throughout this period of remote learning.”

Newbattle Community High School headteacher Gib McMillan said, as a Digital Centre of Excellence, digital learning has been an integral part of the curriculum since the new school opened. Working closely with other secondary schools, live lessons will be among the ongoing remote learning opportunities.

He added: “We believe that learning should provide flexibility for families and learners. Listening to feedback from our previous experience of remote learning and using research, a timetable with a variety of live opportunities provides a more valuable learning experience than simply live lectures.

“Live learning may include tutorials, Q &A sessions, rounding off a topic discussion, starting a new topic discussion, flipped learning, feedback on evidence required for SQA etc. Recorded lessons also provide flexibility for pupils and families to learn at the time which best suits their individual situation.”

To help pupils prepare for the start of the new term, last week parents, carers and our young people were invited to a series of live online sessions about learning platforms used by our schools.