Virtual Education In Highland - Supportive, Interactive, Engaging
23rd September 2020
Virtual education in Highland - Supportive, Interactive, Engaging.
The Highland Council can support and deliver education to any pupils who are asked to self-isolate by the Health Protection Team, in all of our 203 schools across the region. Our focus is to provide quality learning experiences for our pupils using a variety of our online learning platforms to help deliver an education which is engaging and interactive.
Executive Chief Officer for Education and Learning, Nicky Grant, said: "We understand that being asked to self-isolate can cause anxiety in our young people and their family's routine especially having returned to full time education from the 14 August. However, it is really important to follow Public Health advice in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Therefore, it is important that our schools are able to react with ease and set up and deliver quality continued learning and teaching experiences through our already established online learning platforms. Our aim is that young people can re-connect smoothly with their school community, both teaching staff and friends, and have access to resources to support them during this challenging time."
She added: “Digital learning is not about streaming a one-way lecture to pupils, it is about using tools and platforms to provide pupils with the opportunity to interact, to engage, and to experience, as they would physically as if they are in their own classroom.”
Highland schools primarily use the tools of G-Suite for Education for the delivery of digital learning. These tools include:
Google Classroom makes it easy for schools to create classes, set learning activities and communicate quickly and easily. Pupils are able to submit work back to their teacher via this tool and the teacher can in turn, provide immediate feedback and initiate learning conversations.
Google Meet is the safe and secure platform for all pupils and staff to ‘meet’ virtually and engage in learning direction and discussion as well as being a platform for small and large groups to provide pastoral support and guidance.
Google Mail is available for pupils in all secondary schools so that they can communicate with their own teachers and staff, as well as with other pupils from across Highland.
Additionally, schools use the Highland Digital Schools Hub as a main source of support during any period of online learning. This site contains a vast bank of resources to support both digital and face to face learning and has already had a large number of visitors from, not only Highland schools, but also from both national and international locations.
The aim for our schools is to find a balance at all times between digital learning and ‘off-line’ learning. Our online tools, outlined above, are to be utilised where there is a benefit in their use such as improving teacher-pupil interaction, increasing engagement in tasks, and accessing support materials. In other instances, it may be more beneficial for a task to be completed offline and uploaded to the system on its completion. This blended approach will help to achieve quality learning experiences and allow flexibility to our pupils, and their families, as they balance their own challenges in the home.
We are continually working to improve our online learning platforms and delivery. Recently, we issued a ‘Learning during Lockdown’ survey to our parents, carers and pupils to gather feedback and their insights on our digital learning during lockdown.
A review of our digital learning will also be discussed at the next meeting of our Education Committee on 30 September.
At the Caithness Area Committee on 22 October 2020 members unanimously confirmed their full support to the business case for Wick John O'Groats Airport to receive Public Service Obligation (PSO) status by putting forward a motion and reinforcing their commitment to working with stakeholders and partners to deliver this as a matter of urgency. The motion lodged recognises the fundamental strategic importance of Wick John O’Groats Airport to the economy of the region, and the energy, business and tourism sectors in particular.
Members of the Caithness Committee have identified fuel poverty as their number one concern and are pleased to announce that the member-led capital housing budget has increased to 10% as they welcome £2,253,000 of investment which will be used to carry out improvements to the housing stock across the county. A specific priority of the capital programme is improving heating and make homes more energy efficient, with over £1,300,000 of budget approved to replace the oldest and most inefficient heating systems with a further £150,000 for one-off heating replacements.
Highland Council Trading Standards supports FASathon - the Friends Against Scams marathon day Highland Council Trading Standards is encouraging Highland residents to take part in ‘FASathon', the Friends Against Scams marathon day, on 21st October 2020. The aim of the FASathon campaign is to get as many people as possible to complete the free Friends Against Scams online awareness session to learn about the different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others against scams.
By intervening, Local Government has reduced the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for the most vulnerable in our communities, COSLA said today (Wednesday). COSLA also said that is why their Blueprint outlines the lead role of Local Government in securing a fair and inclusive recovery with a strong focus on human rights, tackling poverty and addressing inequalities.
In advance of the 2021 tourism season, Members of The Highland Council's Tourism Committee have agreed that the local authority will continue to work and engage with partners, national agencies and local communities to meet the challenges and opportunities that exist in the region for motorhomes and wild camping tourism. Councillor Maxine Smith, Tourism Committee Chair said: "While coronavirus and the increased demand for staycations in the UK have played a large part in the massive increase in demands placed on the Highlands of Scotland from across the UK, the evidence does show that motorhome ownership and hire has been increasing over recent years.
The Highland Council has published new information on the Coronavirus Covid-19 button on the front page of its website on how people can access the new Covid-19 Self-Isolation Support Grant. https://www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus Funded by the Scottish Government, the new grant is available for individuals who are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Protect Service, in receipt of low-income benefits and who will lose income as they are unable to work from home.
Highland Council is currently looking at options to secure the future of the lifeline ferry service at Corran Ferry, Lochaber. The local authority is responsible for operating the Corran Ferry service, which is the busiest single vessel route in Scotland.
The Highland Council would like to thank householders who have purchased a Garden Waste Collection Service permit for 2020/21. The current permit started on the 1st of September and will run until the 31st of August 2021, with collections continuing until the end of November.
The Highland Council is reminding the public that although their offices and buildings remain closed to the public a full range of support and information is still available. Access into all service point buildings continues to be currently restricted for people to complete birth registrations and other high priority registrations by appointment only, and following all current social distancing and hygiene guidance.
Additional spending powers and funding for councils. A package of financial flexibilities and extra funding for councils which could be worth up to £750 million has been agreed by the Scottish Government in partnership with COSLA.