A University of Strathclyde-based language learning centre has welcomed the announcement of a new partnership established to increase the availability of online learning across different subjects and support digital inclusion across Scotland.
SCILT, Scotland’s National centre for Languages, has been supporting e-Sgoil, an online learning platform run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), in delivering teaching during the COVID-19 lockdown. Education Scotland, the national improvement agency for education, has now entered the partnership with e-Sgoil, which will train additional teachers from local authorities to provide online lessons.
Senior school pupils across Scotland will be able to gain access to the lessons through national digital learning platform Glow. These lessons will help to support and augment the work of classroom teachers across the country in their local arrangements for schools reopening on 11 August.
The partnership was announced to the Scottish Parliament by Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney.
SCILT Director Fhiona Mackay said: “Working with e-Sgoil over the period of school closure has given SCILT the unique opportunity to support the learning of thousands of youngsters across the country from P1-S6.
“We’ve been able to provide them with high-quality, real-time teaching that has either supported the work provided by their schools or encouraged them to use the time to learn a new, lesser-taught language that wouldn’t otherwise have been offered to them. It has been a very positive and rewarding experience, giving SCILT staff a new set of skills that we can share with the profession and a much deeper understanding of how effective online teaching can be.”
Mr Swinney said: “While the clear ambition and intention is to see all pupils return to school full-time in August, blended learning is a contingency that we may still need to enact. The new national e-learning provision from eSgoil and Education Scotland will enable pupils in the senior phase to access a broad range of high quality lessons devised by qualified teachers trained in online learning.
A rich and varied range of lessons will be taught live by experienced and qualified educators, all with national safeguarding checks, and will be recorded to ensure that pupils have further opportunities to learn. This will increase the availability of learning opportunities for pupils, with a focus initially on lessons to help those following national qualification courses in the senior phase. Partners are working to ensure that a wide range of certificated courses in both English and Gaelic medium education will be available to learners in the senior phase from 11 August.
Since the school closures, Education Scotland has been working closely with local authorities, teachers and parents to support the education system in a number of ways. This includes creating a well-received online resource bank of learning activities aimed at a variety of ages, introducing new newsletters for parents and educators, and delivering a range of popular webinars and support sessions for practitioners to support young people to continue with their learning and make progress.
Gayle Gorman, HM Chief Inspector and Chief Executive of Education Scotland, said: “The development we have announced with our partners...offers a coordinated online approach to supporting all local authorities and schools with opportunities to learn at home and, as the Deputy First Minister stated in his update to Parliament, will deliver a strong national e-learning provision. This will ensure that a range of high-quality online lessons is available on a national basis to support in-home learning in the senior phase and to complement schools’ and teachers’ own local arrangements for young people.”