Credit: Jessica Lewis via Unsplash

Researchers say group learning pods can help children

By Matilda Handley

Study shows five families can form “learning pods” if schools close again.

University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing have created the “Scottish Model for Safe Education” with four Scottish Borders primary schools. 

The study highlights the immense pressure that parents were under during the lockdown that began in March 2020, and suggests in a potential future lockdown that schools should support families into forming “learning pods”.

The hubs or clusters that would form to create “learning pods” would allow the sharing of the burden of homeschooling and combating isolation.

Within this model, a “Closed Childcare Cluster” (CCC) would consist of two to five families, and contact would be restricted to adults and children within these groups.

Several forms of clusters are discussed in the research. Other than the CCC, clusters with grandparents or local hubs formed within school buildings were presented as alternatives.

Helen Minnis, one of the authors of the study and a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Glasgow, told TES (formerly the Times Educational Supplement): “If you have four or five families in a cluster that means one family has responsibility for home educating all the children one day a week, but the other three or four days a week they are free to get on with their work or other activities… The idea is about keeping the structure and routine of school but in much smaller groups, with remote support from the school. Crucially, it would also reduce family isolation and stresses by allowing them to have other families to socialise with.”

More information can be seen in the report, which can be found online here.


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