GLASGOW parents have teamed up with others across the country to campaign to ensure children have access to a decent education as coronavirus continues.

They are part of the 50/50 in-school campaign group which was set up in mid-June 2020 and developed five ‘Asks’ of the Scottish Government and local authorities covering a return to school, at home and online learning, support for pupils when they returned as well as support for transitioning children and those with additional needs.

The organisation has since updated these Asks to focus on the concerns of children, parents and carers.

In a letter to the First Minister they suggest that a national published plan for learning at home, both for those who must self-isolate on a case by case basis, but also as a contingency for another national or local lockdown is created.

They want a comprehensive strategy and plan to deal with young people’s post lockdown mental health and wellbeing, additional support to be made available for those pupils who may have fallen behind and for those with additional learning needs and a specific examination of outdoor learning provision.

The group has also asked for consideration of how schools might still use local buildings if they are needed which could enable social distancing in classes in the future.

Sarah Chisnall, of the 5050 group, said:“While we are pleased children have returned to school, we remain concerned about the safety, health and well-being of children and staff and the education they are able to participate in. We know that young people have suffered during lock down; whether that be from trauma and loss; isolation from peers; loneliness; an inability to learn at home and even neglect and abuse.

“The physical and emotional wellbeing of pupils and teachers is paramount and must be a key focus as they return to school. We want to ensure that adequate planning and effective measures are put in place for all eventualities, including future school closures and young people having to self-isolate.

“Blended learning must be a key focus.

“The Scottish Government and local authorities must be proactive in planning for all possible outcomes as we move into autumn and winter. It cannot be left to individual schools, teachers, staff and parents to carry the burden and pick up the pieces.

“All children in Scotland, no matter what their circumstances or where they live, should be able to access quality, engaging, interactive and consistent learning at home.”

A Scottish Government says it is investing £25 million to support digital inclusion through the provision of devices and connectivity to disadvantaged children and young people benefiting up to 70,000 individuals.

A spokesman said: “We are also looking at what is being provided by individual schools, centres, practitioners, local authorities and regional improvement collaboratives as the e-Learning national offer.

“For example e-Sgoil – which was originally created to offer greater learning opportunities for pupils in the Western Isles – is working with local authorities to make sure its lessons will be available to learners once schools have settled into their classes and timetables. Whilst this support is initially focused on the senior phase, work is underway to expand teaching materials and provision for other students.”