On Monday 23 March 2020 schools and early learning centres in Scotland closed to the majority of children and staff as safety measures in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic were implemented.

In late May 2020 the Scottish Government announced a phased approach to lifting these measures with children expected to return to school on 11 August. Meantime staff return to school in June to ensure appropriate safety planning is in place, and Early Learning centres will be open to our youngest children during the summer months.

This however will not be a return to learning as we previously experienced it: instead to maximise a safe return, children will be educated through a blend of classroom-based and home learning, learning in smaller groups when in school and accessing digital and physical resources to support learning at home.

Recognising the inequalities for some families in a home learning context highly dependent on digital technology to access learning, the Scottish Government has also announced investment in 25,000 laptops and tablets with internet connection.

As staff return to schools and teams consider how to effectively manage the transition in August, the Scottish Government’s Education Recovery Group have produced a helpful framework (Education Recovery Group Strategic Framework) to support this planning. This framework, produced in conjunction with key partners, encourages us to be mindful of the needs of the most vulnerable families and those children with additional support needs.

The paper, produced by the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology, is intended to support teachers and education staff return to school. It provides a psychological perspective on how to manage this significant transition compassionately and in a way that takes account of the needs of all individuals within a school community. It outlines how key psychological theories can inform this process and provides practical advice about how these can be used to support school communities become more resilient as they reconnect and recover.

It is hoped that this paper will complement the Framework, providing practical advice and guidance as familiar relationships are restored, new routines established and individual needs understood and supported.


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Cite as

Crawford, A., Currie, L., Hannah, B., Ward, J. & Wooton, I. 2020, Compassionate transitions: Reconnecting school communities post-Covid-19 closures, University of Dundee. Available at: https://discovery.dundee.ac.uk/en/publications/29ac004f-c938-4e28-a186-acbbc411bdc5

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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