Times Comment 13+14/6

John Swinney was on Politics Scotland this am. He said he was willing (only ie no guarantees) to listen to proposals from Councils for extra resources of staff & space. A shame its a bit late since in Edinburgh, their burghers put umpteen of its staff on furlough who are involved in culture/outdoor education/… The buildings etc, that could have been useful to provide extra space for learning, are presumably closed now.

→P Robertson

Not sure I read the article as being bad for teacher numbers. The title says more staff required, need more portakabins (& staff) and and. If there is a move to more online teaching they will need special kinds of teachers for that. There is govt talk of roll out of e-scoil, currently used mainly in Western Isles, l think. So there may well have to be training in Gaelic as presumably/possibly all the current admin stuff is just designed for one language. All in all more members for the EIS

Economically things are tough especially (with this government) for local authorities.

Agreed, so your final question has no answer. Note a lot of (upcoming) financial subsidies to Universities will make the situation worse for earlier yrs stages.

The education authorities will have a tried and tested means of delivering education online. Central provision requires fewer staff and can be done more cheaply. Reproducing and dissemination are straightforward.

Having been originally on the pointy end of VLEs and helping others now with Google classrooms — not sure if its so straightforward and how far future .. “beyond the time of social distancing” — it may be. Time will tell.

→ James (not a Ty)

RomanaHope-mason: So much for the government’s care for our children. Why on earth is this tolerated?

I suspect that there was a level of over-confidence having “sorted” the virus via the NHS — they thought such command & control (when it worked) would triumph in Education. They underestimated the Unions despite the original “success” of Michael Gove, but that was a while back .. & maybe there was an element of payback.

Obviously the key issue was the 2m rule which reading today’s #10 story and observing the similar problems here in Scotland is a red line ….. I wonder why. Having watched an academic from St Andrews on today’s Politics Scotland who when pressed (on kids resilience) referred to a study from Taiwan (!). I suspect that the Kawasaki cases (now supressed from the media) and maybe other more local events have spooked the Authorities. They do not want another Care Home scenario. Having been out today there are many many kids out and about with parents. For many weeks I never saw a single child. There is thus probably little hard data — less than 1% of kids have been attending Hub schools and so there has been plenty of staff to manage them

LockDown was, allegedly, 2 weeks late, it’s that length of time for quarantine & now we have the 2 metre rule. The Bruce Forsyth “lower, lower” debate follows a predictable path.

It begins with a government assertion, often based on a source of wisdom such as SAGE. Some opposition mounts a campaign with academic support. But at some point, like last night on the BBC, a distillation with eloquent graphs highlights why the the number of days for different aspects of quarantine is so and the discussion abates, or rather moves on.

With the two metre rule it strikes me that the “advisory group on economic recovery” could make itself useful and provide some quotable evidence. For example it could be a reference for statements like:

The available evidence suggests a one-metre social distancing rule doubles the risk of infection when compared with a two-metre requirement. That sounds dramatic but, we are told, actually means the risk increases from an estimated 1.5% to about 3%.

Some chap in front of a WHO logo, seldom the same one, does not cut it. We need local voices with creditable explanations to swing the arguments. It’s then easier for the populace to commit to the inconvenience and for them with the money to pony up

Hard Questions:

The government needs to explain, maturely and without the faux certainty, what is known and not known about immunity.

…likelihood of a vaccine and antivirals over six-month, one-year and three-year time frames

I think the people understand that there are no certain answers, currently. I think there is more sympathy with Ministers doing their best in answering than journalists “asking”.

Various desperate sarcastic comments in lieu of anything worth reading

Saturday:

Indeed no mention of education, I just watched on iplayer: 65 minutes of lecture, 10 mins of questions about Aberdeen South Harbour. The latter used to be bigged up as a Cruise Liner Terminal; now its to be yet another industrial park. Just as everyone has to work from home to look after their kids 2 weeks out of 3

Nicola, I tuned in yesterday to the Friday lunchtime Press Briefing. Item#1: Zero net carbon, I couldn’t hang around for the important breaking news … that kids will be going back to school in August for about 1 week in 3, says the Times.

To counter this John Swinney says he will be upset if its less than 50% attendance, no offer of assistance financial or otherwise. Oh I forgot there is going to be e-scoil — wall to wall gaelic- assuming the Victorian schools get their wifi upgraded. School wifi is going to be struggling when the kids return and expect to be using laptops, so the last thing we need is live Indy propaganda. What annoys me is that the MSPs seem complicit on the Edu-Cmmttee virtue signalling about those at the bottom.

Your pleas to Westminster for more furlough money would imply

Also: Lots of MSPs (& above) getting paid too much is a major cost as is their pension liability. PS I checked St Andrews — there are 50 members of staff earning over £100 grand; some considerably more.

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