A north-east council is to offer young people a range of activities over the school holidays to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
Aberdeenshire Council has already set aside £2 million for the holiday recovery programme and it aims to support the mental, social, physical, emotional and educational wellbeing of children.
Details of the actual activities that will be on offer are yet to be made public but a report to be considered by the education and children’s services (ECS) committee said each school cluster should work with youngsters to develop ideas.
Activities would run during the next summer holidays, the October break and Easter holidays in 2022.
The document, prepared by Aberdeenshire Council’s director of education Laurence Findlay, said whatever is offered it should focus on “mental and physical health and wellbeing and socialisation.”
It also said that the summer holiday scheme could potentially lead to “academic success” as a result of boosting general wellbeing.
The report said: “Activities should focus on mental and physical health and wellbeing and socialisation, but academic elements can also be built-in for young people who feel this would be of the greatest benefit to them personally.
“However, our overall priority must be the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of our young people and our proposals must be built around this.
“If we provide high-quality opportunities for improving wellbeing, academic success will ensue as teachers assess learning and provide appropriate scaffolding and supports to learners in school settings.”
“Too much talk of “lost learning” and “catch-up” is demoralising for learners and for their teachers. If we get wellbeing right, the rest will naturally follow.
“Nevertheless, some young people are expressing anxieties around their academic progress and due cognisance of this should be taken in developing our approaches to a holiday recovery programme.”
The report also said that press coverage of “lost learning” or a “lost generation” had led to “upset and consternation” among teachers, pupils and parent.
It said: “Negative coverage in the media of “lost learning” and speculation around a “lost generation” have caused upset and consternation among professionals, parents and young people themselves.
“Throughout the pandemic, ECS has met regularly with young people to hear their views and to listen to their own lived experiences throughout the pandemic. Negative media commentary has very much affected them and they are articulate in expressing their views and their aspirations for a better future.”
The report will be discussed when Aberdeenshire Council’s education committee meet on Tuesday.