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Supporting your teen’s learning

The past year has been a tough one for teens as far as school is concerned. Your teen may be worried about missing out on school work, having to learn from home, exams and what the future holds for them. Here you’ll find information and advice to help you support and reassure them.

Going back to school

If your teenager is going back into school after the holidays, they may be anxious about this. Let them know that you’re there for them if they want to talk about this. 

If they’re worried about whether or not it’s safe to go back, you can reassure them that their safety is their school’s number one priority. Schools are putting extra measures in place to ensure that everyone stays safe. Remind them of the things that they can do, such as wearing a face covering, regular handwashing, using hand sanitiser and following physical distancing guidelines, as this will help them feel more in control.

If they’ve not been in contact with their friends much recently, encourage them to catch up with them on a video chat, or go for a walk with a friend, keeping to the current guidelines for meeting other people of course. 

Learning at home

Your teen may still need to spend some time learning from home, for example, if they need to self-isolate. In this short film, Dr Elaine Lockhart offers practical advice on supporting your teen’s mental health during this time.

Tips for supporting their learning

You can also find useful information on supporting your teen's learning on the Parentzone Scotland website, including advice on preparing for assessments.

Keep in contact with the school

Schools aren't just there for students – they're there for you too. So if your teen feels overwhelmed by the amount of work they're being set, is struggling with their work, or you have worries about their mental health, contact your child’s school for advice – they will be happy to help and could even put together a support plan for your child.

If lockdown is hard on your teen, it may help to let their school know. This could be the case if your family is dealing with bereavement or changes, such as job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. If you feel that your teen needs additional support or if you have concerns about their health and wellbeing, it’s important to let the school know as early as possible so that they can work with you to put any support in place which may help.

Bullying

Nowadays bullying isn't just confined to school. If you’re concerned about bullying, this page from the NSPCC has lots of information on preventing bullying, spotting the signs that your child may be being bullied, and how you can help them and get further support. The respectme website also has practical advice on your options, while Young Scot offers advice to young people on dealing with bullying.

Staying safe online

It's important to consider how you can help keep your teen safe online. Most people, especially teenagers, will be online more than ever – which isn’t a bad thing. It lets them keep in touch with their friends, have fun and supports their learning outside of school. But at the same time it's important that you know that they're safe while online. Our online safety page has lots of advice to help you.

Exams

It’s understandable that your teen may be worried about changes to the exam system introduced because of coronavirus.

The 2021 National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams have been cancelled due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that secondary schools and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) are taking a different approach to deciding this year’s National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results. The SQA’s website provides a Q&A page which attempts to answer all of the key questions that you and your teenage child might have. They also have an information booklet explaining what you need to know for the 2021 qualifications.

If your teens are anxious reassure them that everyone is in the same boat and that their teachers will be doing everything they can to help them. 

Their future

If your teen is not feeling very motivated about learning right now, encouraging them to think about the future opportunities it will open up to them might help. There are many different pathways available in school to give your teen skills for life, work or further study. When they turn 16, instead of staying at school, your teen may choose to go to college instead. Your local college website will have more information on some of the options available for your child to continue their learning journey.

Encourage your teen to look forward to their next steps, whether that's continuing with school, going to college or university, securing a Modern Apprenticeship or other work-based training, or getting a job. Reassure your teenager that situation won’t last forever, and that they still have all the opportunities open to them that they had before.

Check out these websites together for more information and advice:

  • The MyGov.scot website has more information on your teen’s options when they leave school.
  • Skills Development Scotland offers advice, information and support on education, employment and career choices for young people and their parents and carers.
  • You can also head over to mykidscareer.com for information on skills in demand and tips on handling career conversations.
  • There’s also lots of support on Scotland’s career website, My World of Work.

Last updated: 1 Aug, 2021