Coronavirus: Staff and students' reasons to be cheerful

Staff and students across Scotland have come up with ingenious and inspiring ways to keep learning and keep in touch

Henry Hepburn, Emma Seith & Julia Belgutay

Coronavirus: Schools provide reasons to be cheerful

The constant, worrying updates about coronavirus have fuelled a parallel demand for good news to keep people's spirits up.

And there is plenty of it to be found in schools and colleges around Scotland. Here is the second of what we intend to be a regular round-up of good news as educators contend with the challenges of Covid-19  enjoy.

Let us know if you have good news you'd like to share. For schools, contact @Henry_Hepburn or @Emma_Seith (henry.hepburn@tesglobal.com and emma.seith@tesglobal.com). For colleges, contact @JBelgutay (julia.belgutay@tesglobal.com).

Last week, we highlighted schools that were turning classroom equipment into production lines for equipment to be used by key workers in the response to the coronavirus. This week came evidence those efforts were paying off, with health and care workers requesting and receiving equipment created by schools.

While craft, design and technology departments were busy producing PPE, we also saw this week that home economics teachers could contribute in a big way, for example by making masks.

On Thursday night, it was the second national Clap For Our Carers celebration. This time, there was a simultaneous call to "pipe up for key workers"  and a number of staff and students from Scottish schools took up the challenge to give their bagpipes a good workout.

Dunbar Grammar in East Lothian also said thank you for the music when its Battle of the Bands went ahead on Tuesday night, as scheduled. Staff and students shared performances from their bedrooms and living rooms, gathered together with the hashtag #DGSBattleOfTheBands.

Dance is one of those subjects that would seem particularly hard to teach remotely, but students at Glasgow Clyde College have provided an inspiring example of just what can be done – even if your front room doesn't have quite as much space as the studio you're used to.

Children are going on bear hunts across the world just now, and some schools have got into the spirit in a big way  with teachers even sharing evidence of ursine invaders in their gardens...

Many schools are using video to stay in touch and keep spirits high among staff and families, with some impressive compilations appearing on social media.

The impact of the lockdown on students with additional support needs has been a particular concern, so it has been heartening to see schools doing their utmost to provide continuity of care and learning.

The lockdown and school closures have unleashed a wave of creativity, including this impressive take on CBeebies' bedtime stories:

Healthy competitive spirit between teachers and students has also been evident, with all sorts of imaginative challenges being taken on  and different schools laying down the gauntlet to each other.

Dundee and Angus College ingeniously altered its logo to underline the importance of social distancing, while an Inverclyde primary school, which has been turned into a hub for key workers' children, has been getting the idea across in a different way  with penguins.

One big concern about the enforced closures of schools and colleges has been that some students will struggle simply because they cannot call upon the resources that many of their peers have to hand. West Lothian College did something about that by repurposing nearly 100 college laptops for students who don't have a computer at home.

There are also plenty of signs of a culinary revolution in homes around Scotland, with pupils being encouraged to try all sorts of new recipes and techniques, and even thinking about compiling the results into cookbooks.

Meanwhile, one FE lecturer has taken up an epic challenge by seemingly addressing all the challenges that coronavirus has put in the way of education  in song. Siobhan Argyle, of New College Lanarkshire, is writing and performing a song a day (taking on titles requested by Twitter followers) on all things Covid-19, from social distancing to when Zoom meetings go (badly) wrong. The most-viewed song  Scaring Away the Sabre Tooth Tiger – is for people who are finding the current situation all a bit too much.

If you would like to see your good news highlighted by Tes Scotland, contact us via Twitter or email (details at top of the page).

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