EDUCATION campaign groups are urging the Scottish Government to develop a national framework when it comes to online learning.

The 5050inschool organisation has written to the education skills committee and recovery groups to highlight the detrimental effect lockdown has had on young people’s mental health and learning.

The party, made up of parents and carers across Glasgow and the rest of Scotland, believes that the decision on schools opening should be guided by health and education experts to allow staff and pupils to feel safe in school buildings.

READ MORE: Glasgow's head of education defends decision to keep all schools open

It comes as city schools accelerate their digital learning programme by one year ensuring that all teachers, secondary pupils and primary 7s have access to an iPad.

5050 campaigner Sarah Chisnall said: “Since June our campaign has evolved but one thing has remained constant, we have been campaigning for a national plan with minimum standards for learning at home.

“The experience of learning at home from March-June highlighted the inequity of what pupils were receiving in terms of learning. Parents were pushed to breaking point trying to educate, entertain, parent and work. Which is why we believed there needed to be national leadership on this issue. We know that schools know their learners best but surely all pupils deserve some minimum standards which can ensure equal access to a quality learning experience.

Glasgow Times: The group wrote to Nicola Sturgeon The group wrote to Nicola Sturgeon

“We wrote to the First Minister in August on this issue, asking about plans for learning at home, both for those having to self-isolate and looking ahead in case of another lockdown. After 3 months and reminders to her office we received a reply, not from the First Minister, but from Education Scotland.

“The reply highlighted that there was work on this issue happening for pupils in s4-s6 but for all other pupils it would be down to the individual school’s digital learning strategy.

“We don’t think this is good enough for Scotland’s children. There should have been work happening from July until now.”

The group is worried about the effect another prolonged period of isolation will have on young people and want to ensure that all pupils will have proper contact from their teachers and classmates.

Ms Chisnall added: “We know that the attainment gap widened during the last school closures. What are the Scottish Government going to do to ensure that young people who already struggle or are disengaged do not face further disadvantages.

“We have also heard that even then parents are being asked by schools if they have other options such as grandparents that could be used as an alternative. Where is the support for parents? Many will have to take unpaid leave to cover this time of school closures, the reality is that it will be women who do this more than men. This is will create huge pressure and emotional toll.”

Glasgow City Council has confirmed that training for teachers to deliver online lessons was carried out during the first lockdown and since the schools returned in August 2020.

All schools had blended learning plans that have since been tweaked to meet the needs of their learners and school staff – a number of school have also had to utilise these plans for classes and pupils who’ve had to self-isolate during the school term to date.

A council spokeswoman said: ““We know that this is an anxious and challenging time for our families, schools and pupils and we are doing all that we can to offer support and help.

Glasgow Times: Glasgow's education chief Maureen McKenna Glasgow's education chief Maureen McKenna

“This is not like the first lockdown as our schools have robust contingency and remote learning plans that they have been developing since August, we’ve also accelerated our digital learning programme and now every teacher, secondary pupil and Primary 7 pupil has their own iPad.

“Additional devices and connectivity has also been distributed to families who previously did not have access to the internet so that will be a big help during this lockdown.

“Teachers have also been part of additional training for delivering online lessons and schools have utilised their plans when pupils and classes have needed to self-isolate.

“As we stressed in March – we are not expecting parents and carers to replicate lessons at the kitchen table – learning happens in many different forms and we know that families are also having to juggle working at home commitments so we are asking people to do the best they can.

READ MORE: Glasgow City Council facing £110m budget gap threat to services

“Schools will be supporting their families in many different ways and what best suits their needs and will communicate their plans directly with their school community – this will include online learning timetables, help with accessing apps like Seesaw and Showbie and delivering learning packs if appropriate.

The Scottish Government has been asked for comment.