Holyrood’s Education, Children and Young People Committee are seeking views on its conclusions on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and young people.
Following a short inquiry last year, the Committee has today published a report calling for more effective engagement with young people as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions. The Committee also believes there needs to be more available data to understand the effects of the pandemic on young people.
Also noted in the report is a marked increase in young people needing additional support.
Examples highlighted include those unable to engage in online learning, those with increased anxiety both during lockdown and upon returning to in-person learning, and the impact on those who transitioned to primary, secondary or post-secondary education during the pandemic.
The Committee recognises the considerable efforts of all those who were supporting, and continue to support, children and young people during this challenging time.
The Committee also recognises that the Scottish Government has put in place resources to support the recruitment of extra staff and support children and young people’s access to online learning and is seeking more information from the Scottish Government on the outcomes achieved as a result of these resources.
The Committee notes that the Scottish Government’s COVID recovery plan suggests that the pandemic has deepened existing challenges rather than presenting new ones.
With these findings now published, the Committee is launching a Your Priorities digital consultation to seek views on them from those with direct experiences with the education system during the pandemic.
Speaking as the consultation was launched, Committee Convener Stephen Kerr MSP said:
“It is hard to overstate the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on Scotland’s children and young people.
“We have heard countless stories of young people struggling with the challenges presented by school closures, particularly for those with additional support needs. And it is clear that we need to continue reaching out and engaging with them as we return to in-person learning.
“That is why we are today launching this consultation to hear directly from young people about their experiences and help us better understand what more needs to be done to support them as we emerge from restrictions.”
Deputy Convener Kaukab Stewart MSP said:
“This inquiry saw us hear from more than a dozen organisations about the difficulties young people faced during the pandemic.
“Now we want to hear directly from those who have been on the frontline of our education system over the past two years – especially children, young people, teachers and parents.
“I would urge people across Scotland to get involved with this digital consultation, share their thoughts and help us build on the work we have already done.”
People can share their views with the Committee on the Your Priorities platform here: https://engage.parliament.scot/group/12474
The deadline for submissions is 25th March 2022.