CC Children’s Rights & Engagement

Lockdown Lowdown April 2020

The Scottish Youth Parliament, YouthLink Scotland and Young Scot and Local Authorities joined together in April 2020 to deliver LockdownLowdown – a survey of nearly 2,500 young people from across Scotland on their concerns about COVID-19.

The national results have been published in a report which is available here.

The report gives a clear picture of what young people are worried about – and the impact that COVID-19 is having on their lives.

Falkirk’s Lockdown Lowdown Results Summary

Falkirk’s Lockdown Lowdown June 2020

In June 2020, Falkirk Council CLD Service engaged with over 400 young people to find out what young people are concerned about – and the impact that COVID-19 continues to have on their lives.

Falkirk Council CLD Young People Survey – Summary Report

Falkirk Council CLD Young People Survey – Question 9 Responses

Falkirk Council CLD Young People Survey – Question 10 Responses

Second National Lockdown Lowdown Survey

Young Scot, Scottish Youth Parliament, YouthLink Scotland and Local authorities are working together on a second national version of the Lockdown Lowdown survey.

The latest version of our #LockdownLowdown survey is asking 11-25-year-olds how they feel about their lives as lockdown restrictions change.

The Scottish Government commissioned the survey, and they will use the results to shape their response to COVID-19.

In April, Falkirk young people submitted 62 responses to the first full survey, from a total of 2,418 across Scotland.

It would be great to get more young people from all across Scotland and from the widest possible range of communities  to complete it this time around to ensure that the results paint the full picture.

As one of the most impacted groups, it’s essential that young people have their voices heard. Please Retweet or share this survey with your colleagues and encourage your local young people to take part. Young people and their friends can also earn Young Scot Rewards points for sharing their opinions.

The survey can be found at the links in the text above or by copying and pasting this address:

Falkirk’s Summer Takeaway Was More Than Just About Food …..

“Youth work delivered by Community Learning and Development Service is an essential part of our school team and our offer to pupils and their families.”

Stuart Kelly, Head Teacher, Falkirk High School

Covid-19, Learning Loss and Food Insecurity

The closure of Falkirk Council schools during the initial months of the Covid-19 pandemic raised concerns that the poverty related attainment gap would increase.

Most pupils who attended Falkirk High School were at home during the lockdown period with the pupils receiving a mixture of parent-led learning and school provided resources and support.  Pupils who faced significant challenges were identified as being at particular risk of falling further behind as they did not have access to online learning, or even any education at all.

It has been recognised within Falkirk High School that some pupils who face significant challenges also face ‘learning loss’ during school holidays period, together with food insecurity as result of not being able to access free school meals entitlement.  This was further exasperated for these pupils by Covid-19.

Youth Work – Falkirk High School

Youth work delivered with Falkirk High School has enabled the school to improve engagement with pupils and families, thus improving attendance and participation.  Evidence has shown that youth work delivered with Falkirk High School improves pupils core skills, achievement and attainment and has supported pupils into a positive destination.  There is clear evidence that youth work has had resulted in a transformational change for both pupils and families.

The Summer Takeaway

Given the above, YouthLink School and Youth Work Partnership funding could not have come at a more important time for Falkirk High School pupils, their families and staff.  Youth work staff based within school invited pupils and families to be involved in the Summer Takeaway and together they created a 6 week programme of activities.

The pupils, families and staff agreed that the purpose of the activities was to encourage cooperation and learning within the family. The provision of food and digital devices were approaches to support the cooperation and learning that could take place for the pupils and their families.  The pupils and their families all agreed to create  experiences that people were keen to be a part of and comfortable and proud to share with others including their successes and ‘disasters ’ ( rubber eggs that didn’t bounce).

Families shared with youth workers that family life can be very busy and it was agreed with pupils and families that the activities required would offer opportunities for family empowerment, flexibility with no set times or days to participate and importantly with support “on tap, not on top”.

Youth workers provided all the resources that the pupils and their family would need to do each activity. These were packaged up and delivered on a weekly basis, together with a shopping voucher to support the family to buy additional food for recipes that they have learned or wanted to experiment with. Homemade tuna and banana pizza being one of the surprise additions to our recipe collections.

Working with the pupils and families/carers, youth workers demonstrated the recipes or tasks via social media videos which were uploaded to the group and then the families could if they wanted show how it went in their homes. The pupils were able to support their parents with some aspects of digital technology.

Outcomes of the Summer Takeaway

The outcomes for pupils and families who participated in the Summer Takeaway were:

Improved participation, achievement and attainment

The participation rate of those pupils and families/carers who volunteered for the Summer Takeaway was 91 %.  The pupils who wished to accredit their participation within the Summer Takeaway was 100% attainment rate for  Dynamic Youth Awards.

Families will feel more comfortable to learn together

Pupils and families reported that they enjoyed learning together.  In particular, parents/carers reported that they found a confidence to share skills and activities with their children.

The Summer Takeaway was more than just about food   ….

“ It’s something that has helped with my family.  I have 4 kids who all do their own thing.  Doing the Summer Takeaway activities has enabled us to realise that we all needed each other, more than we realised “

  • Parent/carer of Falkirk High School pupil

Families also report that there is more communication with their children and with Covid-19 restrictions being in place it presented an opportunity to spend quality time with them and find joy in activities and their children’s involvement that they thought was past.

There was reduced pressure for families to provide food to their family over holiday period

Youth workers ensured that food was delivered on a weekly basis to the families who participated within the Summer Takeaway.  As mentioned earlier, youth workers also together with food provided shopping vouchers.  These food vouchers gave people the flexibility opportunity to save on some items.

The Summer Takeaway was more than just about food   ….

“I wouldn’t have trusted him (son) in the kitchen before being involved in the Summer Takeaway.  But, cos, we did it together, I now know what he can do. I trust him.”

  • Parent/carer of Falkirk High School pupil

The above enabled the pupils and families to learn to cook new recipes and how it can be more economical.  One family reported that the cottage pie they made fed the family for 3 days. Throughout their participation within the Summer Takeaway pupils and their families become more experimental with them taking risks with new recipes as they had mastered some of the traditional ones.

The Summer Takeaway was more than just about food   ….

“It was a lifeline getting the extra food – what we made together, did us for 3 days”

“The food was really helpful – the activities were boredom busters!”

Parent/carers of Falkirk High School pupils

Improved family/carer cohesion and reducing isolation

 As a direct result of the participating within the Summer Takeaway, families reported that they felt less isolated.  Pupils reported that they mixed better with family/carers.

The Summer Takeaway was more than just about food   ….

“Me and my brother are lot closer now because we have done this”.

“As a result of the Summer Takeaway, my family will do more together,  we will sit down at the table and eat together and talk more.”

  • Falkirk High School pupils

“I feel more confident as a parent.  It was great to spend time with the family and having the time to do it

  • Parent/carer of Falkirk High School pupil

Almost all the pupils and their families reported their positive use of social media as a communication tool had improved their relationships and that this had enabled families to support each other with activity tasks.  This had also led to new friendship being formed and peer support being offered.

Next Steps
  • 8 families have committed to continue to take part with family learning as a direct result of their experiences of Falkirk High School Summer Takeaway.
  • Falkirk High School has committed to the Connecting Falkirk Project which will ensure that pupils who face significant challenges are connected digitally so that they can access to online learning and support.
  • The positive experience of the Summer Takeaway has resulted in Falkirk High School committing to invest in a full time CLD Worker to focus on the delivery of youth work and family learning.

“Relationships with and within families are critical for our school.  We see youth work and family learning as key to developing these relationships and our holistic approach to learning and development.”

  • Jennifer Macpherson, Depute Head Teacher, Falkirk High School
  • Learning from Falkirk High School Summer Takeaway will be disseminated within Falkirk Council, Forth Valley and West Lothian Regional Improvement Collaborative and national networks.