BBC Scotland moves to help pupils bridge the learning gap during enforced school closures

MacKinnon Donalda.jpg 4
Donalda Mackinnon

By Democrat reporter

A RAFT of dedicated educational content for pupils in Scotland will be provided from Monday next week (23 March) on the BBC Scotland channel, iPlayer and online to help plug any learning gap caused by the enforced schools closure.

The BBC has moved quickly to curate Bitesize learning content aimed specifically for pupils studying in Scotland on its dedicated Scotland channel – initially covering Maths, English, Science and Social subjects for primary and secondary pupils.

The programmes will be broadcast each weekday for between one-to-two hours from noon on the channel whilst also being available through iPlayer for students to watch at their leisure.

Additional educational content will be also be curated on iPlayer including the Author’s Live series which BBC Scotland runs in conjunction with the Scottish Book Trust.

The learning content is in addition to our ongoing comprehensive news coverage covering the Coronavirus story across television, radio and online. BBC Scotland will also pull together a range of programmes and services to help keep audiences entertained throughout this uncertain period.

Assembly 5 Moiderator Lorna Hood gets ready for business at the Assembly.
Very Rev Lorna Hood

BBC One Scotland will provide a weekly half-hour that will, over the period of weeks that the programme is on air, allow people of faith to come together and to commune in the act of fellowship.

This Sunday, the programme will come from the foyer of Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow where Rev Lorna Hood, LEFT, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland and Father Michael McMahon from St Conval’s Church, Linwood,
Renfrewshire will offer their thoughts, readings and prayers.

This will be in addition to our existing weekly religious format programme New Every Sunday on BBC Radio Scotland.

To entertain, the BBC Scotland channel,  still under the leadership of Donalda MacKinnon, whose background is in education, will be scheduling classic comedy and sporting moments from the archives, details to be announced soon.

As well as tapping in to the community networks that are springing up around the country across its schedule, BBC Radio Scotland is also planning to programme an on-air book club, an over 70’s playlist on music programmes like Get it On and revisit old albums and films as part of its music output. Details will be released in due course.

Speaking about the plans Steve Carson, head of Multiplatform Commissioning, said: “We know this is a really difficult time for our audiences, so we want to give them as much content as we can to help see them through it, whether it’s learning material, news or a bit of light relief.

“BBC Scotland was established precisely to create content aimed specifically at audiences here in Scotland so it’s the natural home for content like this whether it’s educating, informing or entertaining.”

Meanwhile, teaching staff across Argyll and Bute have been working hard to organise a range of home learning resources for pupils, as schools across the country close their doors today (Friday) due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Pupils have been supplied with home learning packs and/or log in details to access remote learning websites to ensure they can continue their classroom activities outside of school as required.

The following resources are also available:

  • Sharing Argyll Learning Ideas (SALi) – this website provides online resources and learning at home advice . It also has a range of downloadable resources for early years children –
  • GLOW – pupils have a password for Glow  This is a national digital environment that can support learning across the whole curriculum. Anyone who requires a Glow password reset, or anyone experiencing issues with using the site, should contact the council’s Digital Learning Team at using their school email address (not a personal email address).
  • Google G Suite – A Google G Suite support website has been created which contains videos and documents to support the use of Google G Suite and Google Classroom. This is available at:
  • Webinars – The council will be running a series of live webinars to support staff and pupils in their use of online learning.  These webinars will provide help with everything from Glow accounts to setting up and using Google Classroom. Contact details and the webinar schedule is available at: . The webinars will also include collaborative, fun and interactive technology demonstrations and workshops.

McNeilly Yvonne

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, pictured above, said: “The impact of COVID-19 virus presents an unprecedented challenge for education in Argyll and Bute and schools across Scotland.

“It is important that we provide remote learning wherever possible, in order that we can deliver as much educational continuity as possible. Remote learning can play a vital role in maintaining education provision and in supporting Argyll and Bute’s children and young people.

“It is a great way of learning without being in regular face-to-face contact with a teacher. I’d like to thank all our teaching staff for pulling this together so quickly, and to the parents and pupils for their understanding.”

School iPads are available for pupils who do not have a device at home.  Parents/guardians must ensure that the iPad is used in a safe, legal and responsible manner and only for the purposes of learning. iPads will be provided with a charger and there will be an option to charge them at the local open school hub.

The Digital Learning Team will be available to support staff and learners during the period of school closure. You can email them at .

The council will also be opening 10 of its school kitchens from Monday (23 March) to ensure that children who are entitled to free school meals can continue to receive those meals.



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