Letters: With home learning, we should focus on the quality of the work, not the quantity

I READ with interest your article on online learning (“All-change for pupils after lessons online branded ‘postcode lottery’”, The Herald, February 1).

I don’t understand the desire for pupils to be locked to a screen for live teaching for six hours on a daily basis. I don’t imagine our MSPs attend 30 hours of online parliamentary business every week in person nor via video link.

Delivering learning through online classes seems archaic and little more than a virtual babysitting service quantified as “education”. Good teaching means understanding different learning styles, requirements and circumstances of pupils. How should larger families with limited devices prioritise children’s access to education? What if there is no suitable distraction-free space for a child during a lesson? If an internet provider crashes, does that result in an entire day of learning being lost?

Schools have to assess and deliver best according to the needs of their pupils and teachers. Private companies ask customers to be patient with staff who are operating from a working from home situation, but no similar allowance is given to teachers or pupils who have had to constantly change to the new circumstances. In addition, teachers are also dealing with their own work-from-home lives, which may include home schooling their own children. They have adapted lesson plans while simultaneously teaching, and were given notice by the Scottish Government only days before the school term was due to finish before Christmas about the sudden change in circumstances. They support children and young people by creating normality and routine to help protect their mental health against a backdrop of uncertainty and change.

There must be consideration for the stress on children of learning from home, feeling overwhelmed by the volume of work. It’s unrealistic to expect children to deliver a normal level of productivity when they’re isolated from their peers. I know several parents who are struggling to keep their children motivated; piling on school work adds to that stress for both and may result in more of these children falling further behind. There needs to be greater appreciation of the mental health impact of children to concentrate for long periods in these conditions.

As a parent of a Lenzie Academy pupil, I don’t recognise the complaints and can only speak well of their approach. A letter was sent on January 6 to parents outlining the blended learning plan. The school gave adequate explanation regarding this. Through online platforms the teachers provide reassurance to pupils with live drop-in sessions and support and frequent pastoral care through guidance and assembly sessions.

Ultimately the focus should be the quality of the work rather than the quantity. As a parent it’s hard to juggle work and life while assisting with school work, but reviewing it offers an insight into how this has been created and adapted by teachers under extraordinary circumstances and pressure.

Kristin Sharp, Lenzie.


YOUR report about lack of funding for heart disease was truly shocking. We are about to move to Lanarkshire, where the figures show a worryingly long wait for treatment (“Seven month wait for heart test in area of high risk”, The Herald, February 1).

At the beginning of April 2018 after feeling unwell I suddenly dropped unconscious to the stone-tiled kitchen floor. An ECG reported atrial fibrillation. Two months later the cardiology specialist suggested I may have sick sinus syndrome where the heart pauses and may or may not restart.

Four months on from my initial event, frustrated and very anxious awaiting further investigation, I posted a statement on the Care Opinion website. A consultant cardiologist contacted me and set up a treatment plan which involved having a cardiac monitor implanted in my chest. This monitor confirmed a few months later that indeed my heart was having short pauses and the treatment required was a pacemaker.

I’m alive and well at present but things could have been different if I had not had the motivation and the ability to seek help.

How many people have had to wait for treatment to save their life because of a lack of funding to provide more doctors, nurses and facilities to treat cardiac disease?

Margaret Edwards, Bridge of Allan.


WE are being encouraged to stay at home and only travel for essential purposes. Why, then, do the road reports in the mornings advise of congestion on the A720, the M74, M8 & M9? Methinks people are not listening to the advice.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.


I WONDER if other readers enjoy your agricultural reports as much as I do? This week there is poetry in every line.

The trade for prime hoggets was on fire, but tragedy lurked; over fat Mules proved harder to sell. Heavy cast ewes, it appeared, sold to a top, while in the rough ring there were nine cast bulls waiting for the 86 clean cattle. Elsewhere Beltex hoggets led the charge, but race relations were no longer a problem; beef-bred bullocks levelled at -4p, but Blackface ewes peaked. Feeding ewes sold to £78, but Neil McQuistin was sad to report that 16 hill ewes were topped. I can’t wait for his next report.

Martin Axford, Bridge of Weir.

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