Being a student and a parent right now is tough. Not only have you been expected to adapt to being an online student; swapping lecture halls for virtual learning environments, seminar rooms to zooms and the wealth of University study and hang out spaces to a corner in your bedroom, you are now also expected to be a home school expert. Juggling fulltime or part time studying commitments in the midst of a pandemic is hard enough, but to do that whilst also managing the needs of your child/children is an almost impossible task.
Strath Union understand that, and are here to help. We are currently working in the background to try and make this year run smoother for all students, including our student parents. We have pulled together a list of streamlined resources which we think can offer some basic relief to schooling at home. Some of these resources are currently available, and others we are working on right now. We have also created a dedicated student parent page on our website which lists all the work we are doing, and any new resources that become available to you.
University and Union support
Strath Union have been working closely with the University to ensure more support is provided to all students whose studies have been negatively affected by the pandemic. This includes a Digital Inclusion and Small Grant Loan Scheme for Home and RUK students. Full eligibility is listed in the below links. Whilst not all student parents would be eligible for the scheme, there may be some out there who, for example, are currently struggling to juggle one or two screens amongst a number of children along with their own digital needs, or may be facing unworkable broadband issues due to the need to run multiple devices simultaneously. If this is you, we encourage you to apply. Each application will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Digital Inclusion and Small Grant Loan Scheme
The Digital Inclusion Small Grant and Technology Loan Scheme provide support for eligible students to access technology for their learning. More details on eligibility can be found here: https://www.strath.ac.uk/studywithus/scholarships/
The University administers a Childcare fund for "home" student parents who are funded by SAAS (please see link for further information and eligibility criteria).
The University also has a number of hardship funds available to help with essential study and living costs. You can find out more on the University’s Scholarships pages.
Remember, our Advice Hub are always here to help. If you are looking for more targeted support, or you have a concern not listed here, please feel free to get in touch. https://www.strathunion.com/advice/faqs/
BBC Resources for learning at home
There is a great deal of online resources out there for learning at home. So many that it can be quite overwhelming. That’s why at Strath Union we have decided to curate the resource content we share. Hopefully these three digital resources, provided by the BBC, will help supplement your child’s at home learning, without giving you another thing to do.
BBC 2 Educational Programming
BBC Bitesize have weekly educational programming, which can be accessed online or on your TV through the BBC 2 Channel. This may be useful if you have bandwidth issues. Here is this week’s programming schedule.
* nb if you are struggling to stream any of these programmes live, they can also be downloaded on the Iplayer app and played without an internet signal. Any previously aired episodes can be found here
BBC Digital Study Resources
This can be supplemented by targeted online resources on the BBC Bitesize website, where you can access resources by age range, study level and then subject area.
BBC Parent’s Toolkit
BBC have also pulled together some great resources to help manage your new at home schedule, including looking after your own mental health and being realistic with what you will be able to achieve teaching at home whilst juggling other commitments.
The Student Executive are working with the University on the development of a new No Detriment Policy. It is hoped that this will be a broad ranging framework that ensures that no student is disadvantaged because of the ongoing pandemic. We are looking at a whole range of issues that need to be taken into consideration such as personal circumstances, student mental health, library access, caring responsibilities, etc. We hope to have more to announce in the coming weeks.
Alongside this, Strath Union are also working in close partnership with the University’s Widening Access department to determine need and provide further support for student parents;
We recognise that the current situation is challenging for everyone, including our students. Students with caring responsibilities and children at home face particular issues and we are keen to fully understand those experiences and provide support. We are working closely with Strath Union to this end.
Both campaigns would benefit greatly from real student parents’ experiences, and so if you have a moment, we would strongly encourage you to fill out our feedback form, which has a text box at the bottom where you can describe in detail the support you’d like to see / how the pandemic and home schooling is affecting you and your studies.
We have devised a series of projects we feel may help student parents in this time. These range from a fully packaged online entertainment event which aims to engage your child virtually whilst giving you some time to get on with your own work, to the delivery of physical craft or science resources to allow you internet access while your child/children are entertained offline, to a simple virtual hang out space, where student parents can meet one another and offload a little. We aim to run these events ASAP, but now need to hear from you on what you’d prefer. To learn more about these events, and/or register your interest please click here. N.B. you will also have the opportunity to offer your own idea of a support project for student parents