Tag Archives: ESOL

CLD Response to Covid-19: North Lanarkshire Council

Community Learning and Development (CLD) response during COVID -19 lockdown

North Lanarkshire Council – Adult Learning Delivery

Continuing our series of case studies from the West Region on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown we now want to highlight work from North Lanarkshire Council CLD Adult Learning Team.

Across North Lanarkshire Council the CLD Adult Learning Team has continued delivering their CLD service throughout the COVID lockdown period. Initially the CLD staff kept the lines of communication open and established the best way to keep in touch with all learners considering the range of devices being used and the level of learners’ digital involvement. The CLD – Communities and Adult Learning Team looked to ensure that fundamental needs were covered such as information on what was going on, access to food and prescriptions and support for those in isolation.

The speed of response by CLD staff was most impressive and all learners had established contact very early on. The flexible approach took into consideration the position of each individual learner. e.g. WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages, Zoom – all mediums were utilised depending on what learners were best able to engage with reflecting the social practice approach. There also had to be consideration of learners that did not access social media or were not online in anyway. Some learners were contacted by phone and door step drops of learning packs and resources if required. The focus was prioritised around learning and health and well-being.

Highlights:

  • Learning Packs – ALN & ESOL

(Measuring, puzzle books, writing activities, Summer Reading Program)

(ESOL- photo dictionaries, SQA materials, Worksheets)

  • Pivot Garden – Updates posted on progress of newly completed garden and seedlings. Learners were able to access the garden individually and do some upkeep and gardening. Seedlings ‘adopted’ by Community Worker and when established delivered to learners for individual planting.

  • Wednesday Walk – Digital Health Walk – regular timetabled walking activity with theme, promoted via text and social media. Encourages learners to be more physically active and raises awareness of their mental wellbeing. Participants take photos on a positive theme – recent topics have included trees and bees and encouraging mindfulness. Participants then share their photos on social media, increasing their sense of connection. Nature themed topics have been extended with links to materials and activities from Cumbernauld Living Landscapes to encourage further learning.
  • Facebook pages for groups – Motherwell has 3 private Facebook groups set up: Gaelic Culture, Northern Lights Discovery and COLTS Discovery Group.  The learners are able to be in contact with one another and share photographs of their current activities and trips from last term. The Gaelic Culture Group have now set up Facebook Room within their private group; every Tuesday from 1-3pm they meet up for a video chat, practise their language skills together and do a short quiz. One group member who had been housebound over the last term has enjoyed being able to re-join her group online.  The Discovery learners have all kept on track with their activities during lockdown and one learner has just achieved her Silver Award. Wishaw Family History Group have a private Facebook Groups which allows the learners to keep in touch and share photographs of their current family tress and any progress made on their work. The group ‘meet’ weekly for a Facebook video chat: this allows them to socialise with one another, check in with the Support Worker for welfare purposes and share any new findings. Not only has the Facebook group decreased social isolation it has also allowed for learners to learn new IT Skills and explore avenues on social media platforms that they didn’t know existed!
  • ESOL Online -Aimed at ESOL learners and resettlement refugees. Delivered by Community workers, Support workers and Social Work. Ongoing WhatsApp groups where work is posted and a group for information sharing on Covid developments in Arabic & English. Weekly video calls and lessons for each learner. Difficulties were /are mainly which platform to use and longer term the need for a VLE set up for learners to submit work and track progress. Staff need for training in the use of digital online learning platforms and managing of social media.

CLD Response to Covid-19: South Ayrshire

South Ayrshire Council ESOL Service

Continuing our case studies on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown, we now want to highlight work from South Ayrshire’s ESOL service.

South Ayrshire Council English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) staff within the CLD service, identified several challenges as lockdown was introduced. Firstly, many staff were temporarily redeployed to co-ordinate free-school meal provision, and work alongside staff from other council services to deliver almost 2,800 meals a day. Secondly there was a clear need to maintain contact with the more vulnerable learners including those with mental health issues; and, provide continuity of support for learners working towards accreditation. Thirdly there have been technical challenges presented by staff remote working; upgrading IT infrastructure; and, securing online access for learners in rural areas.

ESOL tutors adapted to provide support for learners via video lessons and online tutorials, and also continue to provide English classes for learners who returned to their country of origin prior to lockdown. ESOL learners were involved in the planning of the learning sessions – including selecting times of delivery and identifying a digital platform they were comfortable using, thus reducing digital and financial barriers.

Tutors routinely translate and provide learners with the latest Government guidelines on shielding, social isolation and keeping safe, as well as all Police Scotland notices, and information issued by schools. Staff maintain a reflective log to capture activities, as well as issues that may be noted under duty of care, such as supporting a learner subjected to domestic abuse and signposting to Women’s Aid.

Local authority officers shared insight to some of the impacts to date. ESOL learners have positively benefited from continuing support provided by their tutors – receiving advice and guidance on aspects of their life affected by the lockdown. For example, signposting new families arriving in Scotland to register for free school meal provision.

Moving to a digital platform enabled the ESOL tutors to work with smaller groups based on the level of learning. This has resulted in increased confidence, with learners creating their own peer support groups out with the sessions. Subsequent peer support networks within the ESOL community have continued to develop. For example, with the support of the ESOL staff, learners now have a support network to source halal food from Glasgow.

Virtual participation is also helping to reduce barriers for parents/carers of school aged children. The ESOL team provides activities for children while their parent/carer takes part in a virtual ESOL session. There is also anecdotal evidence that parents/carers and their children are supporting each another with their learning. Learners have reported that the virtual ESOL support has been vital in keeping up to date with schools and nurseries.

More broadly, staff report positive impacts from working in multi-disciplinary teams delivering bespoke services during lockdown – with strengthened relationships and improved understanding of substantive roles. In addition, there have been positive benefits in staff undertaking professional learning and research while working at home.

South Ayrshire council ESOL service identified a number of areas for consideration looking forward: Issues arising from gaps in learning, social isolation and poor mental health will require sufficiently well-resourced CLD services to aid recovery. The Ayrshire ESOL partnership comprised of South, East and North Ayrshire Council ESOL services and Ayrshire College, has established a model to maximise learner engagement and progression – there may be merit in further examining how to apply this model to other learning pathways – with CLD provision as an entry point.

For more information check out @CLDSouthAyr on twitter

CLD Response to Covid-19: Dumfries & Galloway Lifelong Learning

Dumfries & Galloway Lifelong Learning Team

Continuing our case studies on the amazing response of CLD during COVID-19 lockdown, we now want to highlight practice from Dumfries & Galloway’s Lifelong Learning Team.

The team adapted quickly by transferring programmes to online platforms. This quick response ensured they could continue to offer learning opportunities in:

  • Adult learning
  • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Adult Literacy and Numeracy
  • Family Learning,
  • Digital,
  • Accreditation Learning opportunities

The team adopted a social practice approach to choosing which digital platforms to use. They surveyed learners to establish which digital platforms they already had access to, and were comfortable using. The team then began a steep learning journey of their own as they quickly developed their own skills to use these platforms effectively, and safely. This resulted in the team being able to offer these learning programmes on a range of platforms.

To help remove barriers to digital participation within vulnerable groups, the team provided a number of solutions including the lending of equipment, with additional set-up support. For example, iPads that were purchased for the Syrian Refugee families were delivered to homes fully set-up.

The programmes don’t just focus on learning and skills development. The team recognised how key it was to support the health and wellbeing of their learners in such challenging times, something that is especially important in the rural geography of Dumfries and Galloway.

The team secured funding from several charities/organisations which enabled them to provide learning packs with a health and wellbeing focus to over 200 vulnerable adult learners. The strong relationships the team already had with learners enabled them to customise the packs to meet individual needs. For example, some contained pots and seeds to support the delivery of relaxing STEM learning activities. The team delivered the packs to learners’ doors. Due to the geography of the area, many vulnerable learners were living in very isolated conditions and this was their only face to face engagement. Having this socially distant contact enabled them to have a general conversation about how they were coping. Many were living in very challenging circumstances and the CLD Team were able to support them with a range of issues including crisis grant applications, housing issues, accessing free school meal entitlement and additional shielding packages.

      

                               

The support provided by the team didn’t stop over the summer. The success of the adult learning packs helped to secure further funding from the National Lottery for 200 family learning packs which the staff delivered to the doors of families across Dumfries and Galloway over the summer holidays. These packs provided a range of fun learning activities for the family to do together. They also contained basic resources to create their own activities, for example pencils and paper. Again, this provided an opportunity for a face to face check in with families and ensure they were accessing all the support they needed. For example, they were able ensure that ESOL families were accessing Scottish Government Covid-19 Guidance. For families where the parents/carers were isolating, they were help to make additional deliveries of learning resources for the children to ensure they could continue to learn together over the summer break.

 

          

The children were very excited to receive their parcels!

In addition to delivering the packs, the team also ran a virtual summer programme for 4 weeks in July. Each day of the week had a different theme- Motivate Monday, Try it Tuesday, Walk Wednesday, Take a trip Thursday and Fun Friday. Activities included a virtual live life well course for adults, cooking, virtual Peep sessions, themed walks, quizzes, STEM sessions, photography workshops, family challenges, dance and yoga, crafts and games and more. This ensured that there was a wide variety, something for everyone.

The programme was delivered through social media platforms the families were already accessing. Participation rates in the summer programme were very high with most activities reaching an audience of 2, 000 and some reaching nearly 5,000. Feedback from the participants was very positive with many sharing photos and stories of them engaging in the activities  on their own social media feeds.

The move to a digital platform has enabled the team to expand their social media presence. One Lifelong Learning account alone went from just over 1,000 followers to 8,000 with posts reaching over 1.5 million accounts, including many other learning providers and families in the UK engaging with our content.

The impact on the team, both in terms of their practice and confidence levels has been significant. Staff who were nervous about introducing digital platforms into their practice have reported that the peer support colleagues and partners provided has been invaluable, as they develop their skills and approaches. The team are continuing to develop their digital skills to enhance their learning offer, not replace face to face delivery. This will ensure that moving forward, learners now have even more opportunities to engage in a blended learning model which meet their needs.

You can find out more through their social media channels: LIfelongLearningDGC Facebook  @DgcLearning