By Democrat reporter

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, has called on the Scottish Government along with West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute councils to ensure that every effort is made to make up for time lost to Covid-19 in schools .

This follows concerns that Scotland’s existing attainment gap will have been negatively affected by the Covid-19 crisis which saw schools shutdown completely from March-June 2020. In that time pupils have been learning from home with teachers providing lessons and tasks on digital platforms and parents taking the lead in ensuring that work is understood and completed.

Jackie Baillie has raised concerns that remote learning may have resulted in children falling through the gap and pupils who usually require greater assistance in the classroom going without vital support. She has now called on the Scottish Government to work alongside local authorities to ensure that any pupils who have been left at an academic disadvantage will now be brought up to speed and given the support that they need.

Pupils and teachers are set to return to the classroom in August and preparations are on-going in local authorities but it is already clear that additional resources will be required across a range of areas.

Jackie Baillie said: “Teachers had no control over the fact that schools had to shut down and they have done the best that they can to continue supporting their pupils from afar.

“However, no one can deny that the remote learning that pupils have had to do over the last twelve weeks is not the best way for pupils to progress. This situation will be particularly difficult for pupils with additional support needs who benefit from extra assistance in the classroom.

“The Scottish Government, along with local authorities, must now make every effort to ensure that pupils are supported as they make up for lost time. It is vital that no child slips through the cracks created by Covid-19 and that teachers have all the resources that they need to stop this from happening.

“Preventing an overall drop in attainment and any further widening of the attainment gap must be a number one priority for the Scottish Government going forward.”

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