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Helping your child with home and blended learning

Schools have now reopened, but we understand you may still be feeling worried about what will happen if coronavirus cases go up in your area. You may also be thinking about what will happen if your child can't go into school – for example, if they still need to shield, or have to self-isolate.

If your child isn’t able to go to school at all, the school will have a plan in place for them to learn from home. This might be because the school has had to close if there is a local lockdown, or if your family is shielding. The important thing to remember is that whatever happens, and whatever your child’s age, there are plans in place to make sure they won’t miss out on their education.

You may have heard the term “blended learning” before, this a mix of learning at home and classroom learning. It will only be introduced if it's no longer safe for your child to attend their school full time. For instance, if the number of coronavirus cases in your local area goes up, it might mean new restrictions have to be brought in.

Each school will have slightly different plans for blended learning. So if you have any questions, it's best to get in touch with your child’s school.

How would my child’s school support learning at home?

While every school is different, learning materials would usually be made available online or there may be physical learning packs which your child would be given to take home. Your child’s school is expected to support their individual needs – for example, if you don't have access to the internet at home the school may send you materials through the post.

If your child does have to switch to learning at home, remember that their school will provide all the learning materials they will need for you to follow as best as you can, that’s more than enough. No one expects you to replace their teacher. Remember, you can always contact your child’s school for help and support. They’re here for you and your child through this.

For more information, you can get in touch with your local authority or contact their school directly.


Learning at home

What is learning at home?

While it’s hoped that most children will be able to learn at school full-time, it’s important to remember that your child’s health is always a priority. That’s why, in the following situations, it may no longer be safe for them to continue to physically attend school at all, even in a blended learning approach:

  • If the Scotland-wide or local guidance on shielding changes, which means you or your child needs to shield once again
  • If you are in self-isolation as a family
  • If your child is having to self-isolate 
  • If your child’s school has to close in response to a coronavirus outbreak or national increase in cases

If this happens, your child’s school or local authority will make plans so your child can carry on learning remotely from home. This is known as ‘learning at home’.

Blended learning

What is blended learning?

It’s called blended learning because it’s a blend of learning in school, and out of school – such as completing work at home. To do this, your child might use a mix of classroom teaching in person at their school, supported by lots of different learning materials at home.

Some of this out-of-school learning might take place online using a smartphone, laptop or tablet, while other work wouldn’t need an internet connection – for example, the school may send your child physical learning materials. Your child would also spend some time learning on their own and some learning with a teacher (or other adult, such as a youth worker.)

When may blended learning be introduced?

Different local councils would only bring in blended learning at schools if it’s strictly necessary in your area. Each school will approach things differently. For more information, you can get in touch with your local authority or contact their school directly. 

How would blended learning work?

While each school will be different, some things would be consistent. For instance, your child would always follow the same curriculum. Blended learning means that your child would spend some time in school, and the rest of their learning would happen away from the classroom – which could be outside, online, or at home.

To support your child’s learning, their teachers would continue to plan their learning. Your child may also get regular face-to-face or online time with their teachers. This is really important, because it means they are always able to get help with their learning from their teacher. Teachers may also send home or post home materials your child needs – whether that’s online materials like slides or videos, or physical notes and diagrams.

What are the positives to blended learning?

It goes without saying there are lots of reasons why physically going to school is great for kids. But this doesn’t mean blended learning isn’t a good option, too. It might be different to what most of us are used to, but lots of children around the world already use blended learning as a really effective way to learn.

It’s also good to bear in mind that if your child does have to do any blended learning, there are lots of skills they might get out of it, too. For instance, it could help them to learn how to work on their own, which is an important skill they will need when preparing for exams or for future study and work. It’s also more flexible than traditional learning, as they can learn at their own pace and in their own time.

How will I know if my child’s school are going to start delivering ‘blended learning’?

Your school will be in touch if they have to move to blended learning, and they’ll give you all the details you and your child will need. 

What would lessons be like?

Your child’s teachers would still plan lessons and the school would work out the best way to deliver these. For more information about this, you can call your child’s school or get in touch with your local council.

If your child has to do any learning at home, don’t worry, schools and local councils will work to get back to 100% in-school learning again as soon as possible. In the meantime, they’ll have a plan to deliver effective blended learning to make sure your child doesn’t miss out on their education. If you have other questions about your child’s education, you can contact their school or your local council. 



General questions

What if I have any other worries about home or blended learning?

Remember, you’re not expected to be your child’s teacher. You’re already doing an amazing job! And don’t forget that if your child can’t be at school, there are plans in place to make sure they won’t miss out on learning.

This will not be like when schools closed back in March. Schools have had time to make plans for blended learning and will be prepared if this has to happen.

How could I support my child’s home or blended learning?

One easy way is to try to get excited and involved in their learning. Encourage your child to do what their teacher asks (as best you can). If they have to do blended learning, it might help to try and get them to stick to a routine on the days they have to learn from home.

What if I don’t think home or blended learning is going well?

If your child can’t go to school, that doesn’t mean the school isn’t still there for them, and for you. Whether it’s getting advice from teachers or raising any concerns you might have – don’t put off getting in touch with your child’s school for help and support. It’s what they’re there for.

What if I don’t have the technology to support my child’s home or blended learning?

Don’t worry, just get in touch with your child’s school – they are there to support your child with everything they need.

Home education

What’s the difference between learning at home and home education?

Learning at home is the learning which happens in the home, outdoors, or in the community. It can take place through everyday activities that families already do and can overlap with aspects of organised, or active learning activities.  

Learning at home can happen through a range of events including play, leisure activities, fun events, sports, trips, cultural or volunteering experiences. It can also happen through curriculum-related activities, homework, reading and sharing books. 

Recently, when schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers provided materials for children to continue their learning, while staying safe at home.  Learning at home will continue after COVID-19, as it is part of the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006.

Further information can be found in the Scottish Government’s Review of Learning at Home.  

Home education is where a parent or carer chooses to become the main educator of their children and takes the legal responsibility for deciding what they will be taught and in what manner. Normally, this is without direct support from schools, or the local authority. 

If your child already attends school you must request the local authority’s consent to withdraw them from school. You will be expected to explain how you intend to provide a suitable education for your child. In a few circumstances, including if your child has never attended school, you do not have to ask for the local authority’s consent to home educate, but the local authority is likely to contact you to find out if your child is receiving a suitable education. 

You can find further home education guidance, including links to information and support networks, here 

How much contact with the local authority will I have if I home educate my children?

Local authorities should arrange to meet home educating families at least once a year. This is so they can be sure that parents are providing their children with a suitable education. You can find further advice on contact between home educating families and local authorities in the Scottish Government Home Education Guidance here.

Where can I get resources?

Your local authority should have home education information on their website. This may include the name of the contact person within the authority who has responsibility for home education. These officers will have an understanding of the range of educational philosophies related to Home Education and the contact details of local support networks that they can put you in touch with. 

However, unlike learning at home, where resources are provided by schools, neither the local authority nor your school will provide you with resources of this kind. 

Can I get any financial support if I home educate my child?

Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) provide financial support to eligible 16-19 year olds who want to continue learning.  Home educated children are eligible for Education Maintenance Allowances, subject to the same criteria as school educated children. EMAs are available to eligible young people who are undertaking full-time non-advanced level study (up to and including Advanced Highers) by home education. 

Your child needs to apply to their local authority for the EMA. If they’re applying for an EMA as a home educated student, they must have a history of home education before reaching their official school leaving date. You can find out more about EMAs at the Scottish Government website.