Scotland

Post-lockdown teaching: Geodomes and polytunnels?

geodome classroom Image copyright Solardome.co.uk
Image caption Geodome classrooms have been suggested by the Scottish government

Geodomes and polytunnels could be the new classrooms when pupils return to school from August.

Schools are being urged to be creative in order to meet social distancing regulations.

The Scottish government's guidance document gives schools ideas of how to make things work post-lockdown.

It makes clear pupils should expect big changes, from travel to school to what classrooms will look like and how long will be spent in them.

The guidance suggests the use of flexible accommodation, including mobile classrooms and geodomes.

Outdoor learning could also be used, with the help of polytunnels and canopies.

Part-time learning

Further suggestions include converting assembly and dining halls into multiple classrooms and using private or third sector properties, like council office space, libraries, leisure centres or cultural venues.

Teachers are set to return to schools from next week to prepare the teaching spaces.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Social distancing will be at the heart of the return to school

Some local authorities, such as Glasgow City Council, have considered a part-time learning approach.

In discussions with trade unions and head teachers, it has said a two-day school week could be one solution to allow social distancing in schools.

Aberdeen City Council said it is looking at similar models including the blended use of classroom teaching and learning from home.

Class sizes are also expected to be significantly smaller to accommodate social distancing.

But the education secretary has said that schools will be part-time 'only for as long as required'.

Pupils are expected to return from 11 August in Scotland.

'Cautious approach'

Guidance on reopening schools from the Scottish government highlighted local authorities as being key in developing the best approach for their schools.

It said when capacity issues arise, remote learning may need to still be used to maintain social distancing.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "The health and well-being of children and young people is our priority, which is why in implementing this guidance we will adopt a cautious approach and monitor progress to inform decisions on further changes to restrictions.

"It is important to stress that there will be regional variation in the approach to implementation.

"It is for councils to work with teachers and put in place the best solutions locally. I am certain they will rise to the challenge."

As part of the easing of lockdown in Scotland announced by Nicola Sturgeon, teachers will be able to enter schools from Monday for preparation.

More on this story