Author Archives: Susan Epsworth

Adult Learners Week – national organisations⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Here at Education Scotland we have been promoting Adult Learners Week and would like to take this opportunity to highlight the wide range of third sector organisations that also contribute to Adult Learning in Scotland. We do not have space to name everyone but here is a few of the national organisations. We know there are also lots of local community organisations too. Please tag us at @edscotcld  and we are happy to promote any adult learning happening out there! 

 Or feel free to tag Education Scotland CLD Officers @LauraMc50938627 @soozeeps @MacdonaldDehra

 There are a wide range of third sector organisations that contribute to Adult Learning…below you can read about some of the main organisations in Scotland and access their websites and twitter to learn more 

 WEA – Workers Education Association (Scotland) 

The UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education in England and Scotland. Founded in 1903, the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) is a charity dedicated to bringing high-quality, professional education into the heart of communities. With the support of nearly 3,000 volunteers, 2,000 tutors and over 10,000 members, they deliver friendly, accessible and enjoyable courses for adults from all walks of life. 

 They have a special mission to raise aspirations and develop educational opportunities for the most disadvantaged. This includes providing basic maths, English and IT skills for employment; courses to improve health and wellbeing; creative programmes to broaden horizons and community engagement activities that encourage active citizenship. WEA’s members also help support their mission and campaign for adult education. 

www.wea.org.uk/ @WEAScotland

 Learning Link Scotland 

Learning Link Scotland was established for and by third sector adult learning organisations. Learning Link’s vision for Scotland is for a learning nation where Scotland is not only the best place in the world to grow up in but also the best place to learn. 

 At the heart of their vision is that adult learning in Scotland will be recognised by all as a central element of personal and community empowerment. They strive to ensure that people will have access and equal opportunity to strong, independent and vibrant Third Sector adult education, and that organisations work in partnership with others to fulfil lifelong learning, social inclusion, and democratic aspirations. 

Their purpose is to ensure Third Sector adult learning organisations work together to create a successful, dynamic and forward-thinking Scotland.

www.learninglinkscotland.org.uk @LearningLinkSCO 

 Lead Scotland 

Lead Scotland is a charity supporting disabled people and carers by providing personalised learning, befriending, advice and information services.  They have projects across Scotland and a national helpline and information service.  The local services are community and home based, one to one or in small groups so that people have the right support to learn and participate. Lead Scotland support people to build a bridge to reach their ambitions of personal development, learning, volunteering and work. At a national level, they provide information and advice on the full range of post-school learning and training opportunities, as well as influencing and informing policy. 

www.lead.org.uk @leadscot_tweet

 Scotland’s Learning 

Scotland’s Learning Partnership is the national partnership for adult learning bringing together the interests of learners and providers in Scotland. By working to develop equality in the relationship between learners and providers we aim to: 

  • Advocate the common interests of learners and providers to key policy makers and politicians 
  • Promote non-formal adult and family learning through the Adult Learners Week and Family Learning Week campaigns 
  • Create, design and deliver innovative projects that reach the most excluded groups 

www.scotlandslearning.org.uk @SLPLearn

 

Family Learning during Adult Learning Week 2020⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

by Susan Doherty

A brief history of Family Learning and how it links to Adult Learning in Scotland…

Family Learning encourages family members to learn together as and within a family, with a focus on intergenerational learning. Family learning activities can also be specifically designed to enable parents to learn how to support their children’s learning.

‘Family learning is a powerful method of engagement and learning which can foster positive attitudes towards life-long learning, promote socio-economic resilience and challenge educational disadvantage’ (Family Learning Network, 2016).

To highlight the amazing work in family learning during Adult Learning Week I thought it would be good to reflect on where we have come from and all of the hard work that practitioners have done to get us to where we are today…

In 2016 we worked with practitioners, researchers, policy colleagues and stakeholder/partner agencies to write the Review of Family learning in Scotland. This document set out to capture what practice, research, policy and strategy looked like at that time and set out some key recommendations to take forward. These recommendations formed the building blocks of what family learning looks like in Scotland today.

At its core family learning is an approach to engaging families in learning outcomes that have an impact on the whole family. It can support improved attainment, attitudes towards lifelong learning, health and wellbeing, confidence etc. which leads to positive outcomes for both adults and children. Family learning is a negotiated process born out of the needs of families and the individuals within them. It builds the capacity from where people are and celebrates in their successes. Although universal, family learning can be used as an early intervention and prevention approach which reaches the most disadvantaged communities and can help close the attainment gap through breaking the inter-generational cycles of deprivation and low attainment. For adults this can be the first step to re-engage with their own learning and help them to support their child’s.

Since 2016 we have developed the Family Learning Framework  and informed the Engaging parents and families – A toolkit for practitioners. Family learning is also present in the ELC Realising the Ambition, CLD Adult Learning Statement of Ambition, and HIGIOS 4 and HGIOELC documents. This highlights the breadth of where family learning can and does have an impact – from early learning to adult learning. Practitioners have shaped all of these documents and their voices can be heard throughout.

Engaging families in a family learning programme can have an impact on their immediate identified need however through research we also know it can extend beyond the duration of the intervention and provide lasting impacts and improved outcomes.​

In practice family learning can take many forms which is driven by the needs of the families. Family learning practitioners are creative, nurturing and responsive to the needs of their families and understand their communities and the challenges that they face. They almost always work in partnership which supports robust services that have strong referral pathways for further learning as appropriate. Practice has shown us that practitioners value the time families spend together over a coffee to chat and build relationships and fun is the magic ingredient that keeps them coming back.

We have many wonderful case studies that we can share with you from across Scotland and we would encourage you to look for more on the National Improvement Hub. Here are just some that you may find interesting:

For more information on Family Learning, Parental Involvement/Engagement and Learning at Home, or to share your practice, please contact: susan.doherty@educationscotland.gov.scot and/or beverley.ferguson@educationscotland.gov.scot

 

Adult Learners Week 2020⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

This week is Adult Learners Week 2020 in Scotland. We want to highlight all of the fantastic work that Community Learning and Development (CLD) do to deliver high quality adult learning opportunities across a wider variety of areas. These include social isolation, health and wellbeing, digital inclusion, English as a Second Language (ESOL) , literacies, numeracy/maths, family learning, community inclusion, progression pathways, financial inclusion, personal development and active citizenship. 

  The thing that surprises most people about CLD is the variety of roles and diversity of learning that is covered. People who work in CLD often have a variety of disciplines to cover and ensure they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide these. The CLD Standards Council is the professional body for people who work or volunteer in CLD. 

 Adult Literacy & Numeracy in Scotland follows a social practice model. It looks at the skills, knowledge and understanding that a learner has to build on and relates learning to a context within personal, family, working or community life. Provision is offered in a learner centred way and can use real life resources such as bills, letters, newspapers or other household resources to support learning to have a real life context. 

Community based ESOL is delivered by CLD teams across Scotland. Scotland has supported the Syrian Resettlement Scheme in recent years which also links to ESOL provision and wider CLD activity in communities although this can look different in different local authorities.  ESOL learners can come from any country in the world and groups can be made up of a variety of languages and cultures. 

 Community based adult learning in CLD can cover a wide variety of learning opportunities that are intended to be informal, relaxed, friendly opportunities that aim to break down barriers for learners who are hardest to reach. These can be adults with multiple barriers such as mental health, physical health, learning difficulties, alcohol and drug addictions, long term unemployment and social isolation among others. 

CLD Adult Learning covers a variety of areas such as confidence building, health issues, bereavement, life changes (such as divorce, redundancy) focussing on areas of high deprivation where poverty impacts on households and families. 

 CLD is a value-based practice and CLD professionals have committed themselves to the values of self-determination, inclusion, empowerment, working collaboratively and the promotion of adult learning as a lifelong activity. Programmes and activities are developed in dialogue with communities and participants, working particularly with those excluded from participation in the decisions and processes that shape their lives. 

 The focus of CLD in all areas of adult learning are improved life chances for people of all ages, through learning, personal development and active citizenship resulting in  stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive communities. 

 The Education Scotland CLD Team works to support the CLD sector in delivering high quality learning opportunities relevant to the communities that are in need. The team supports professional learning across different areas of adult learning in CLD and supports the creation of new policies and strategies. They are keen to share and promote interesting practice that is of interest delivered by CLD workers who work tirelessly to improve the communities and individuals they work with.   

Follow @edscotcld for more information

CLD Response to Covid-19: Dumfries & Galloway Lifelong Learning⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Dumfries & Galloway Lifelong Learning Team

Continuing our case studies on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown, we now want to highlight practice from Dumfries & Galloway’s Lifelong Learning Team.

The team adapted quickly by transferring programmes to online platforms. This quick response ensured they could continue to offer learning opportunities in:

  • Adult learning
  • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Adult Literacy and Numeracy
  • Family Learning,
  • Digital,
  • Accreditation Learning opportunities

The team adopted a social practice approach to choosing which digital platforms to use. They surveyed learners to establish which digital platforms they already had access to, and were comfortable using. The team then began a steep learning journey of their own as they quickly developed their own skills to use these platforms effectively, and safely. This resulted in the team being able to offer these learning programmes on a range of platforms.

To help remove barriers to digital participation within vulnerable groups, the team provided a number of solutions including the lending of equipment, with additional set-up support. For example, iPads that were purchased for the Syrian Refugee families were delivered to homes fully set-up.

The programmes don’t just focus on learning and skills development. The team recognised how key it was to support the health and wellbeing of their learners in such challenging times, something that is especially important in the rural geography of Dumfries and Galloway.

The team secured funding from several charities/organisations which enabled them to provide learning packs with a health and wellbeing focus to over 200 vulnerable adult learners. The strong relationships the team already had with learners enabled them to customise the packs to meet individual needs. For example, some contained pots and seeds to support the delivery of relaxing STEM learning activities. The team delivered the packs to learners’ doors. Due to the geography of the area, many vulnerable learners were living in very isolated conditions and this was their only face to face engagement. Having this socially distant contact enabled them to have a general conversation about how they were coping. Many were living in very challenging circumstances and the CLD Team were able to support them with a range of issues including crisis grant applications, housing issues, accessing free school meal entitlement and additional shielding packages.

     

                               

The support provided by the team didn’t stop over the summer. The success of the adult learning packs helped to secure further funding from the National Lottery for 200 family learning packs which the staff delivered to the doors of families across Dumfries and Galloway over the summer holidays. These packs provided a range of fun learning activities for the family to do together. They also contained basic resources to create their own activities, for example pencils and paper. Again, this provided an opportunity for a face to face check in with families and ensure they were accessing all the support they needed. For example, they were able ensure that ESOL families were accessing Scottish Government Covid-19 Guidance. For families where the parents/carers were isolating, they were help to make additional deliveries of learning resources for the children to ensure they could continue to learn together over the summer break.

 

         

The children were very excited to receive their parcels!

In addition to delivering the packs, the team also ran a virtual summer programme for 4 weeks in July. Each day of the week had a different theme- Motivate Monday, Try it Tuesday, Walk Wednesday, Take a trip Thursday and Fun Friday. Activities included a virtual live life well course for adults, cooking, virtual Peep sessions, themed walks, quizzes, STEM sessions, photography workshops, family challenges, dance and yoga, crafts and games and more. This ensured that there was a wide variety, something for everyone.

The programme was delivered through social media platforms the families were already accessing. Participation rates in the summer programme were very high with most activities reaching an audience of 2, 000 and some reaching nearly 5,000. Feedback from the participants was very positive with many sharing photos and stories of them engaging in the activities  on their own social media feeds.

The move to a digital platform has enabled the team to expand their social media presence. One Lifelong Learning account alone went from just over 1,000 followers to 8,000 with posts reaching over 1.5 million accounts, including many other learning providers and families in the UK engaging with our content.

The impact on the team, both in terms of their practice and confidence levels has been significant. Staff who were nervous about introducing digital platforms into their practice have reported that the peer support colleagues and partners provided has been invaluable, as they develop their skills and approaches. The team are continuing to develop their digital skills to enhance their learning offer, not replace face to face delivery. This will ensure that moving forward, learners now have even more opportunities to engage in a blended learning model which meet their needs.

You can find out more through their social media channels: LIfelongLearningDGC Facebook  @DgcLearning

 

CLD Response to Covid-19: South Ayrshire⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

South Ayrshire Council ESOL Service

Continuing our case studies on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown, we now want to highlight work from South Ayrshire’s ESOL service.

South Ayrshire Council English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) staff within the CLD service, identified several challenges as lockdown was introduced. Firstly, many staff were temporarily redeployed to co-ordinate free-school meal provision, and work alongside staff from other council services to deliver almost 2,800 meals a day. Secondly there was a clear need to maintain contact with the more vulnerable learners including those with mental health issues; and, provide continuity of support for learners working towards accreditation. Thirdly there have been technical challenges presented by staff remote working; upgrading IT infrastructure; and, securing online access for learners in rural areas.

ESOL tutors adapted to provide support for learners via video lessons and online tutorials, and also continue to provide English classes for learners who returned to their country of origin prior to lockdown. ESOL learners were involved in the planning of the learning sessions – including selecting times of delivery and identifying a digital platform they were comfortable using, thus reducing digital and financial barriers.

Tutors routinely translate and provide learners with the latest Government guidelines on shielding, social isolation and keeping safe, as well as all Police Scotland notices, and information issued by schools. Staff maintain a reflective log to capture activities, as well as issues that may be noted under duty of care, such as supporting a learner subjected to domestic abuse and signposting to Women’s Aid.

Local authority officers shared insight to some of the impacts to date. ESOL learners have positively benefited from continuing support provided by their tutors – receiving advice and guidance on aspects of their life affected by the lockdown. For example, signposting new families arriving in Scotland to register for free school meal provision.

Moving to a digital platform enabled the ESOL tutors to work with smaller groups based on the level of learning. This has resulted in increased confidence, with learners creating their own peer support groups out with the sessions. Subsequent peer support networks within the ESOL community have continued to develop. For example, with the support of the ESOL staff, learners now have a support network to source halal food from Glasgow.

Virtual participation is also helping to reduce barriers for parents/carers of school aged children. The ESOL team provides activities for children while their parent/carer takes part in a virtual ESOL session. There is also anecdotal evidence that parents/carers and their children are supporting each another with their learning. Learners have reported that the virtual ESOL support has been vital in keeping up to date with schools and nurseries.

More broadly, staff report positive impacts from working in multi-disciplinary teams delivering bespoke services during lockdown – with strengthened relationships and improved understanding of substantive roles. In addition, there have been positive benefits in staff undertaking professional learning and research while working at home.

South Ayrshire council ESOL service identified a number of areas for consideration looking forward: Issues arising from gaps in learning, social isolation and poor mental health will require sufficiently well-resourced CLD services to aid recovery. The Ayrshire ESOL partnership comprised of South, East and North Ayrshire Council ESOL services and Ayrshire College, has established a model to maximise learner engagement and progression – there may be merit in further examining how to apply this model to other learning pathways – with CLD provision as an entry point.

For more information check out @CLDSouthAyr on twitter

CLD Response to Covid-19: Dumfries & Galloway⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Dumfries & Galloway Youth Work Service

Continuing our case studies on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown, we now want to highlight work from Dumfries & Galloway’s Youth Work Service.

Dumfries and Galloway (D&G) council youth work service identified several challenges as lockdown was introduced. These included the need to: provide young people with the latest information; establish a way to maintain contact with more vulnerable young people (previously engaged through the ‘youth work in secondary schools mental health initiative’); develop a new method of delivering youth engagement through digital platforms; and, consider a method of engaging young people with little or no access to the internet.

Youth workers responded swiftly to these challenges and: created digital information clips, and introduced a youth information line available 6 days a week, 12 hours a day; contacted vulnerable young people on an individual basis to provide on-going support; worked with young people to secure grant funding and co-produce 1000 ‘isolation packs’ containing activities and access to the ‘Hi5 STEM award’ for young people with no digital access; and, developed #HomeFest, a 4 day programme (10am-9pm) during the Easter holidays with a new activity available every hour.

Further to this, examples of targeted support include: provision of activity books for young parents to support their learning and care for their children; and assist young people to access funding for essentials like food, heating, and ‘top-ups’.

Local authority officers advise the geography in Dumfries and Galloway is recognised to cause a sense of isolation and disconnect for some young people. Therefore, youth work services and education staff are now jointly hosting a weekly webinar (also supported by the D&G youth council and school captains) where young people can ask questions of hosts with a collective range of expertise.

Local authority officers shared insight to some of the impacts to date. Examples of positive impacts include; 35 young people supported to gain their Hi5 STEM award since lockdown began; young people and parents seeking support from the youth work service for the first time, maintaining contact with young people previously registered with youth services to support them with challenges they’ve encountered in lockdown; youth workers temporarily deployed to social services experiencing strengthened relationships with social work colleagues; and, the opportunity to shift some service delivery online – with the success of #HomeFest influencing current service delivery

However it is important to note online engagement methods are viewed as most effective in the current circumstances – but not a replacement for face to face practice.

Negative impacts are reported to include: evidence of increased numbers of young people struggling with mental health issues, to be considered as part of any post-covid response; and, the digital deficit experienced by young people with a lack of access to technology at home.

D&G council youth work service identify a number of areas for consideration looking forward: Investment in staff training to facilitate delivery of high quality youth work online; Investment in local broadband infrastructure to ensure equal access for all young people; Funding for local authority youth work to support young people in the recovery from COVID such as managing loss, and reintroduction to social situations; and finally, reinstating youth work staff teams temporarily diminished in size (due to deployment of staff to other business critical council services), once restrictions are lifted.

For more information check out @YOUTHWORKDG on twitter and this short video: https://twitter.com/YOUTHWORKDG/status/1298307452446924801?s=20

 

Wee Blether reflections: The Power of Communities in Education Recovery⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

John Galt, Education Officer CLD, reflects on a recent wee blether hosted by Education Scotland and the CLD Standards Council

The Power of Communities in Education Recovery: Wednesday 5th August

One of our recent ‘Wee Blethers’ focused on what we’re learning about our communities across Scotland during the Covid-19 crisis and what messages that gives us for education recovery. The session was co-facilitated by the CLD Standards Council for Scotland and attracted an interesting mix of practitioners from education establishments, local authorities, community learning and development, third sector organisations and the Scottish Government.

The picture is a complex one. We heard that there is clear evidence that existing inequalities in communities across Scotland are being exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. We also heard though about the many examples of positive community-led responses to the crisis, often based on a strong understanding of what is needed locally, and organised around the knowledge and skills in the community to meet those needs.

We discussed the ‘power of communities’ and what a ‘resilient community’ looks like; how engaging with local communities can help to shape the curriculum – e.g. through approaches like Participatory Budgeting or by strengthening youth work and school partnerships; and the key role that community learning and development can play in supporting community-led activities and education recovery. Check out this link for more details https://share.wakelet.com/doc/2AvJL8-Gczc88TAJFyBEK

 

Adult Learners Week 2020 – 5 Days of Celebration⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Scotland’s Learning partnership has organised a week of events to celebrate Adult Learner’s Week 2020 

The 29th celebration of Adult Learners’ Week in Scotland is very
different from our normal programme of activities – social distancing makes getting together a little harder. The lack of technology skills and tools make it all the more challenging, but adult learners across Scotland are still planning on having a good celebration

The Morning Sessions are open to everyone
to join learners and providers. These sessions are from 11.00 – 12.30.
The Afternoon Sessions are specially designed by learners
with learners and for learners only.

Monday 7th September: Let’s Talk Participation                                   

Ten years is a long time, but no time at all. Join us to hear how far we’ve come when we talk about participation. The Learning and Work Institute’s national participation survey has its roots in the early Adult Learners’ Week campaigns so join us for expert input from Sir Alan Tuckett and Dr Fiona Aldridge to find out how things have changed in the last 10 years and talk about what we need to do and meet the Minister for Adult Learning Richard Lochhead. Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lets-talk-participation-tickets-116613428905

Tuesday 8th September: Scotland Connects

This year’s Adult Learners’ Week is timed to celebrate with colleagues across the world, connecting with colleagues in Europe and beyond to help develop a world worth living in. Meeting with Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell, Chief Executive Niamh O’Reilly, AONTAS and Edicio Dela Torre, President of the Education for Life Foundation to talk about our learning connections and champions and how we benefit. Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scotland-connects-tickets-116618991543

Wednesday 9th September: Adult Learning & Health

Health literacy became extremely important during a pandemic –
Presentations from Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-chair All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health; Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, Scottish Government; Glynne Roberts, Programme Director (Well North Wales); and FALNI, Northern Ireland will delight and inspire us to think about how we better link with health across the country and ensure learning is at its heart. Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/adult-learning-health-tickets-116621033651

Thursday 10th September: Work and Learning

Adult Learning at work, for work and in work – a day of celebrations and achievements-hearing from some of the great projects people are involved in across the country. Join us for some inspiration and challenge our thinking about work-based learning, learning for work and learning in work. Meet Ed Gibbon from Stirling Council, WEA, James Russell from SDS and Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair work and Skills and let’s talk about the role that adult learning can play in the recovery. Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/work-and-learning-tickets-116622451893

Elevenses Celebration
Adapting to the situation and making changes, meeting online, sending out learning packs, calling people to see if they’re okay we will be sharing cake and a cuppa with learners and providers across Scotland.

CLD Response to Covid-19: South Lanarkshire Council⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Community Learning and Development (CLD) response during COVID -19 lockdown

South Lanarkshire Council – CLD Youthwork – Vertigo Theatre for Young People

Continuing our series of case studies for the West Region on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown we now want to highlight work from South Lanarkshire Council CLD Youth work.

Vertigo Theatre for Youth, a group based at East Kilbride Universal Connections and supported by South Lanarkshire’s Youth, Family and Community Service, have been undertaking a range of initiatives over the lockdown period. One of these initiatives takes place every Thursday evening, where young people from  the senior group come together online to talk about how they are feeling and take part in an interactive drama session. The young people discuss and plan projects that they can undertake to keep themselves creatively engaged whilst entertaining other families and young people within South Lanarkshire. On average 22 young people have taken part every day.

These projects have included story-telling videos for children and families, including stories told in British Sign Language (BSL) and Makaton, that are published weekly. The young people have also been producing videos of themselves performing music from their homes. During one week alone the videos by the young people reached over 1,200 members of the public and had 395 engagements.

The Vertigo Committee of young people have been meeting online regularly and are making contact with the younger members of the group who do not use social media. Members of Vertigo are also currently working on writing poetry and monologues that represent their experience of lockdown, often concentrating on the positive aspects of the experience. These initiatives all aim to encourage young people to help support each other’s mental health, and to create a support network for young people during the current crisis.

Facebook link   https://www.facebook.com/Vertigo360TY/ or search Vertigo 360 on Facebook to see the stories and music videos.

CLD Response to Covid-19: North Lanarkshire Council⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Community Learning and Development (CLD) response during COVID -19 lockdown

North Lanarkshire Council – Adult Learning Delivery

Continuing our series of case studies from the West Region on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown we now want to highlight work from North Lanarkshire Council CLD Adult Learning Team.

Across North Lanarkshire Council the CLD Adult Learning Team has continued delivering their CLD service throughout the COVID lockdown period. Initially the CLD staff kept the lines of communication open and established the best way to keep in touch with all learners considering the range of devices being used and the level of learners’ digital involvement. The CLD – Communities and Adult Learning Team looked to ensure that fundamental needs were covered such as information on what was going on, access to food and prescriptions and support for those in isolation.

The speed of response by CLD staff was most impressive and all learners had established contact very early on. The flexible approach took into consideration the position of each individual learner. e.g. WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages, Zoom – all mediums were utilised depending on what learners were best able to engage with reflecting the social practice approach. There also had to be consideration of learners that did not access social media or were not online in anyway. Some learners were contacted by phone and door step drops of learning packs and resources if required. The focus was prioritised around learning and health and well-being.

Highlights:

  • Learning Packs – ALN & ESOL

(Measuring, puzzle books, writing activities, Summer Reading Program)

(ESOL- photo dictionaries, SQA materials, Worksheets)

  • Pivot Garden – Updates posted on progress of newly completed garden and seedlings. Learners were able to access the garden individually and do some upkeep and gardening. Seedlings ‘adopted’ by Community Worker and when established delivered to learners for individual planting.

  • Wednesday Walk – Digital Health Walk – regular timetabled walking activity with theme, promoted via text and social media. Encourages learners to be more physically active and raises awareness of their mental wellbeing. Participants take photos on a positive theme – recent topics have included trees and bees and encouraging mindfulness. Participants then share their photos on social media, increasing their sense of connection. Nature themed topics have been extended with links to materials and activities from Cumbernauld Living Landscapes to encourage further learning.
  • Facebook pages for groups – Motherwell has 3 private Facebook groups set up: Gaelic Culture, Northern Lights Discovery and COLTS Discovery Group.  The learners are able to be in contact with one another and share photographs of their current activities and trips from last term. The Gaelic Culture Group have now set up Facebook Room within their private group; every Tuesday from 1-3pm they meet up for a video chat, practise their language skills together and do a short quiz. One group member who had been housebound over the last term has enjoyed being able to re-join her group online.  The Discovery learners have all kept on track with their activities during lockdown and one learner has just achieved her Silver Award. Wishaw Family History Group have a private Facebook Groups which allows the learners to keep in touch and share photographs of their current family tress and any progress made on their work. The group ‘meet’ weekly for a Facebook video chat: this allows them to socialise with one another, check in with the Support Worker for welfare purposes and share any new findings. Not only has the Facebook group decreased social isolation it has also allowed for learners to learn new IT Skills and explore avenues on social media platforms that they didn’t know existed!
  • ESOL Online -Aimed at ESOL learners and resettlement refugees. Delivered by Community workers, Support workers and Social Work. Ongoing WhatsApp groups where work is posted and a group for information sharing on Covid developments in Arabic & English. Weekly video calls and lessons for each learner. Difficulties were /are mainly which platform to use and longer term the need for a VLE set up for learners to submit work and track progress. Staff need for training in the use of digital online learning platforms and managing of social media.