Survey finds majority of most vulnerable teenagers did no online learning during lockdown

Date: 6th August 2020
Category: Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities

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The survey found that almost 70% of the most disadvantaged teenagers did no home learning during lockdown. MCR Pathways is calling for disadvantaged and care-experienced teenagers to be prioritised and provided with in-person teaching in the event of future lockdown restrictions.

MCR Pathways is a school-based mentoring charity in Scotland. The charity facilitates mentoring for care-experienced young people to address the outcome gap between care-experienced young people and their peers.

Over 1,300 responses were received from children and young people (aged 13-18) from city, town, rural and island settings across Scotland. Respondents were either care-experienced or on the edge of care, experiencing various forms of disadvantage.

More than half found learning materials too difficult to understand and just under half said they were too stressed or anxious to engage with school work. Over a quarter of young people also reported caring duties had impacted on their capacity for home learning. Additionally, some young people did not have IT and internet access (15%) or space at home to work (20%).

When asked about their feelings on returning to school, young people reported that they wanted to return to school but they were worried about getting back into a school routine and being behind with school work. Over half reported worries about COVID-19 infection and re-establishing relationships with friends and teachers.

In the report, MCR Pathways called on Scottish Government to adopt recommendations to ensure that the most vulnerable children and young people can continue to access education if another lockdown occurs. Some recommendations include:

  • Full-time schooling to be prioritised and provided for care-experienced and disadvantaged pupils in the event of future lockdowns.
  • Disadvantaged young people should be given additional one to one teacher time as part of a recovery plan.
  • Ensuring all young people have secure and consistent access to the internet and laptops.
  • Paper-based options for home learning to be readily available at all times.
  • Ensuring disadvantaged young people are consulted in policymaking.

Read the report here.

Read more about MCR Pathway’s work here.