School return for Falkirk pupils still not on the calendar

Like parents all across the district, and in fact the country, Emma and her husband were trying to get their children back into a routine on Sunday evening ahead of going ‘‘back to school’’.

By Kate Livingstone
Friday, 24th April 2020, 2:40 pm

Like parents all across the district, and in fact the country, Emma and her husband were trying to get their children back into a routine on Sunday evening ahead of going ‘‘back to school’’.

Except they weren’t. Well not back to school as most of us know it.

But during the 2020 coronavirus crisis, their dining room has become the classroom.

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Jack had tried to say that Sophie was putting him off his work so could he sit in the living room. However, mum and dad quickly worked out that was so he could watch the TV, albeit with the sound turned off!

You’ve got to admire his thought process.

So it was back to the dining room table with him at one end, Sophie at the other and dad on his laptop in the middle – acting as referee a lot of the time while complaining that he couldn’t get on with his own work for sorting out the squabbles of my darling grandchildren.

I’d phoned Emma one day to see how they were all getting on and she admitted that he had actually taken himself off to the downstairs loo for a video call because the children were making so much noise.

I just hope he turned the camera off!

However, the longer this goes on the more worrying it is. I know that schools have put in support – for parents just as much as pupils – but you cannot help but worry that it will have a negative effect in years to come.

And at least my two have the luxury of a diningroom to serve as their classroom. What about all the people who are maybe in much smaller properties? How can they be expected to study as well as they would have at school where they have the proper facilities?

Thankfully, we’re not at the exam stage yet but I really feel for all those teenagers who were due to begin sitting national qualifications in a few weeks time.

While it may seem to be a great let off that, instead, it will be their prelims and course work that is used as a gauge for their overall mark, how many of us really only started revising and studying when those prelim results weren’t quite what we had hoped for?

Talking to my mother about it during one of our regular phone calls she came up with the suggestion that when all this blows over they should open the schools up straight away and forget about the summer holidays.

“Get them back in the classroom,” she said. “That way they will be learning again as soon as possible.

“This is almost like a holiday for most of them at the moment and the Scottish summers are never that great anyway.

“And that man on the TV told us we are all to forget about our summer holidays this year so no-one should be going away. It would be much better for the children.”

I hate to say it but perhaps she has a point, although I’m not sure my friends working in schools would agree!

However, would it not be good to get children back into working mode and then have a wee break in September for a couple of weeks before the winter term begins proper.

Anything that helps our youngsters in the future has to be considered.