By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh has called for more help to be given to parents and teachers who are trying to provide their children and pupils with an education, during lockdown.
She has also urged the Scottish Government and Education Scotland to better support parents who are still required to leave their homes to go to work or who are now working from home.
Education Scotland has now provided teachers and parents with resources which will help facilitate home-schooling. However, Ms Baillie says that while this support is welcome, it is “long overdue”.
Schools in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute have been closed for two months now and parents and teachers have been tasked with continuing to deliver an education and offer support and advice remotely.
Jackie Baillie said: “The move to home schooling was a huge disruption for pupils, parents and teachers and it required everyone to adapt extremely quickly to uncertain circumstances in order to not leave pupils at a disadvantage.
“Parents have had to take on the role of a teacher and – up until very recently – they were expected to do this without any substantive support or resources from Education Scotland.
“The Scottish Government must clarify how it plans to support both parents and teachers.
“Particular help must be given to struggling parents who are required to either still go to work or to work from home.
“Teachers must feel like they have the full support of the Scottish Government as they continue to provide a vital service to pupils under extremely difficult circumstances.
“Above all we need to ensure that our young people, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, do not miss out on their education.”
Cllr Jonathan McColl, leader of the SNP administration on West Dunbartonshire Council, and Karen Connaghan, the convener of the education committee, refused to comment.