SNP fears and ‘remote’ learning

scotland on sunday

Euan McColm? Didn’t he write Dirty Old Town?

McColm thinks a Labour resurgence will challenge the SNP. He misses at least three things.

First, the disaster of the Shropshire by-election, for Labour (less than 10%), means that creeping ahead of the creeps in the polls will, at best, put them into a position of needing the Lib Dems and the SNP to govern.

Second, the good folk in Labour who moved to SNP are not going to jump back to a party that is only Labour in name but essentially Tory in actions.

Third, Starmer and Sarwar, knighted and obscenely rich, have so little appeal in Scotland, going by the polls, that the SNP seem more likely to wipe the board than face any losses from Labour’s empty pool of talent.

It turns out the ‘education experts’ are mostly, Seamus Searson of the tiny SSTA, teacher union but I agree entirely. Done properly with commitment by teachers, flexible or blended learning can be very effective.

Young people today are already fully-adapted to learning independently with their smart phones, tablets and laptops. One-to-one teaching via zoom is still necessary when they meet obstacles to understanding, for which there is not already a Youtube video they can watch at their own pace and repeat as necessary.

‘Remote’ is not a good name.

The Open University does it fantastically well. Get them in to design the course materials using the funds from a justified reduction in staffing in schools.

scotland on sunday

13 thoughts on “SNP fears and ‘remote’ learning

  1. Boris will be gone by spring or early summer. Then a Tory leadership election election, followed by a quick general election to gain a “mandate” (only applies in England, seemingly).
    The top Tory candidates are pretty “out there”— Truss, Raab, Patel et al, but that wont matter–they have the BEEB in their pocket as are 90% of the press.
    The plodding Sir Keir has so far only ever AGREED with Tory policy positions–that is unlikely to change, so England (and the rest) will be offered a “real Tory” manifesto or a pretendy Tory manifesto.
    Forget the fact that the Tories are split and ideologically veering further and further to the right—for an election they will unite.
    Labour cannot win in England alone. It is highly unlikely, with changes to the electoral map and restrictions in voting (ID cards etc), they can win at all.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. As a SNP MP said recently,Scotland is not England.
    Politics at Westminster is all about England with Scottish matters either being vetoed or ignored by English MPs and their government.
    The Great British Labour party under Blair and now Starmer have come to accept that England is essentially a Tory country and if they want to get elected by voters have to adopt Tory policies.
    The trick in Scotland is to try to feed that narrative to a hostile audience… nation etc etc.
    Remote learning,as John says,has proved successful over many years with the Open University but would not be acceptable to many Scottish Universities who rely on income from property rentals etc.
    Education in Scotland is now big business where the bottom line is paramount.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Clutching at straws, same old same old, ‘aye that SNP let Thatcher in’ myth and ‘Tartan Tories’ c**p. They have lost the argument, the BritNats have nothing to go on now. They have nothing but contempt for the people of Scotland and the democratically elected government, the SNP.

    Yes ‘remote’ learning is meant to scare the beejezus out of folks omg, ‘remote’ argh! Aye the little brats will learn nowt and be running the streets with their aye phones an all that, SNP baaaahhhaaad. Kids are natural learners, given the tools and guidance they don’t need to sit at desks all day in front of a white board. As you say John, flexible learning, and I think that individual talents should be embraced and encouraged, all geared towards, ‘age aptitude and ability’.
    My younger son is now studying at college, but not at college, it’s ‘remote’ because of Covid, it’s such a relief for someone with Aspergers ( and me!) who would struggle with busy public transport and enclosed rooms for hours on end. He was home educated, taught himself Japanese language and really enjoyed smaller meetings with other home ed kids for social and some educational activities.
    I just want someone to redesign a keyboard so as to have some of the letters moveable, like moveable type on computer…I always get some letters mixed up. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘Lessons from Estonia: why it excels at digital learning during Covid – studies in the Baltic state moved seamlessly online thanks to its early adoption of education technology’ – this is the headline of an article from the Guardian, 30 October 2020. The piece includes these comments:

    ‘Andreas Schleicher is the head of education and skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, where he also oversees the international Pisa tests. Asked why Estonia’s move to remote learning has been so successful compared with the UK’s, he said: “The key difference is that teachers and school leaders in Estonia are used to working as designers of innovative learning environments, and have great flexibility on how to best configure the people, the spaces, the technology and times in their respective context.

    “It goes back to when Estonia became independent. Unlike other countries in the region, they didn’t try to restore the old system but had a young generation of entrepreneurs create an entirely new public system with entrepreneurship and digitalisation at its heart.”

    Reflecting on the impact of the pandemic: “Many things will never be the same again,” said Kreitsmann, “and education is one of those things.”

    Is it a truism that there will always be someone, somewhere doing something that we do do better than us? This is not a sign of overall weakness or failure: it probably applies to everyone and every place. And it can provide an impetus for change. However, it reinforce the need to be outward looking; willing to learn from elsewhere; and to ensure the capacity, the capability and the appetite to innovate in order to progress.

    I am reminded of a blog post published 7 September, 2021 by Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland on the 10th anniversary of the Christie Commission report on the future for Scotland’s public services. Boyle wrote:

    ‘Our collective appetite for risk-taking and innovation, and how we hold public sector leaders to account, also needs to shift. If every ‘failure’ results in hostile media and political scrutiny, we will never encourage creativity, entrepreneurial thinking and risk-taking in how we deliver public services. I’m not suggesting accountability isn’t important, far from it. But we have to give our leaders the space, time and incentives to take managed risks. That’s something that we as auditors also need to reflect on as we do our work.’

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Brilliant would love to read more about that. Education needs to move into the 21st century, particulaly schools, it could be so much more creative and involve the children in decision making as well, it’s their welfare and well being that counts, and their futures at stake. Inequality however, which is the default policy of the English government, is not conducive to flexible learning, it’s designed to keep the worker bees in their place, and not make things better for the benefit of all.
      It’s to keep the those at the top, at the top.

      Scotland can do so much better with what has already been achieved by the SNP, and much more without the shackles of the (so called) UK holding the country back.


      1. ArtyHetty
        Bang on the money
        The word Education is derived from ancient Greek
        And basically translates as
        “To Free the Mind ”
        And by default if Scottish education true purpose was to Free the Mind,then surely as Day follows Night then Independence would follow the freeing of Scottish minds

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Indeed, and in fact, education is compulsory, but school is not, which is why some people choose home education. Remember there used to be what were called special schools, which for some did work and no doubt reduced chances of being bullied, I hope. Specialist support is crucial for those who need it, sadly it wasn’t available when my sons were of school age, we were constantly told there was ‘no money’, which is why I would never vote Labour again, at that time they sent £billions BACK to Westminster saying, ‘nothing to spend it on in Scotland’.
          I remember hearing that on the BBC radio aghast at the announcement, and no doubt had attended another waste of time school meeting that day where we were desperate for support but told it just wasn’t feasible and your kid is obviously just badly behaved and was very rude when he told the head teacher that her office ‘looks like an organised chaos’ (lol). I could write a book about the disgraceful neglect of my kids, by the teachers, head teachers, the Labour council and Labour troughers at Holyrood back then. No doubt many suffered much more at the hands of the Brit state then as well.

          Hope this is not TMI!


  5. A normal, honourable and intelligent electorate elects politicians that are suitably virtuous… Normally, this is a fairly accurate concept; yet, normality doesn’t seem to be a universal fact and is clearly alien to certain governments! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    Liked by 1 person

  6. University is not merely about “academic learning” it is also about expanding personal horizons, meeting new friends, having new opportunities to try new activities, learning to look after yourself, basically all of which work better if away from home life (especially if brought up in a small town/village/rural area).
    These “extras” are difficult to provide remotely…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is of course, life enhancing and an experience, but for those who struggle to fit into the system as it is, ‘remote’ learning is better than nothing. My son helps to run a couple of language groups, now online sadly, people socialise and mix differently, and within their own boundaries and preferences etc. Unfortunately, escaping ‘home life’ has been set back for very many young folk past couple of years as well. Also some people need lots of support to ‘look after themselves’, and some can be very vulnerable without that support which is why we have a social care system. One of my sons was scammed into handing over quite a bit of money online some time back, and I recently found he was being seriously dangerously bullied on a US gaming site…not everyone can fit in and be safe as I say. He was also seriously bullied at school and should have been home educated because the knock on effects are life long. One size fits all whether at school, uni or in work, is counter to some people progressing and independent living is not always possible, sadly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ArtyHetty
        Re Bullying
        I could tell many a tale of on here
        But those of us who have a free mind
        Without doubt would never ignore it
        Far less be part of it
        Once the mind is free it can do no wrong
        Nor speak ill of any
        A closed mind is akin to a parachute
        Tis absolutely useless until it opens

        Liked by 1 person

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