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Education / Remote learning disrupted on first day as national problem affects software

SOME of Shetland’s school pupils are experiencing technical problems on what is the first day of remote learning after the Christmas break.

Baltasound Junior High School said on Monday morning that it had come across “gremlins at work” which prevented some from accessing Microsoft Teams.

It is, however, a national issue across the UK.

Today (Monday) sees the majority of pupils across Scotland kick off a period of remote learning as schools remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Baltasound school took to Facebook to update parents and pupils, adding that it had also experienced some problems with learning platform Glow.

It concluded with a message for children to “enjoy the snow and go outside and see what you can build” in the meantime.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday that it was not an issue unique to schools and that Microsoft was looking into the Teams problem.

Glow tweeted at Monday lunchtime: “Microsoft are experiencing issues with the Teams service across the UK this morning. This is not exclusive to the Glow platform and we are in contact with Microsoft to ensure these issues are resolved asap.”

Shetland Islands Council’s quality improvement manager Robin Calder said: “There has been some national disruption to Glow and Microsoft Teams this morning, which is being investigated and may be due to the number of users looking to use these remote learning platforms.

“We have been aware of the issue in Shetland but local schools have a range of approaches to engage learners.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said: “The combination of technical faults and overloaded services is a frustrating start to the new term.

“While the closures last March were unprecedented, the Scottish Government has had six months to prepare for this, so everyone should be seeing the benefits of that this week. Instead, teachers, parents and pupils are ironing out problems.

“Teachers are working flat out to give pupils the best education they can but they are being hamstrung by ministers who refuse to act until the last minute and national education bodies that keep dropping the ball.”

Remote learning was reimposed across Scotland as a result of concern over a new strain of coronavirus.

Schools will remain closed to all pupils until at least the start of February except for children of keyworkers and vulnerable bairns.

Previously schools in Scotland were originally to be closed to most pupils through to 18 January, but this was extended.

Sturgeon said during her daily briefing on Monday that “getting schools back to normal remains a priority”.

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