MAKING the assertion that Section 30 being allowed is as unlikely as Mr A Johnson PM not lying is not intended as a criticism of Ms N Sturgeon FM. The Covid-19 pandemic is all-consuming in Scotland and rightly so – and not to put too fine a point on it, it will largely define the success or otherwise of garnering sufficient support for Scotland’s right to self-determination.

Seeing the BBC (Scotland branch) launch into multiple attacks on the Covid-19 response education policies of the Scottish Government simply shows how rattled their UK Government is. The attainment gap between the Scottish Government and the less effectual UK Government in terms of general responses to Covid-19 not only continues to widen, but it is now getting reported in some honest parts of the media.

READ MORE: Education Secretary John Swinney spells out the Government's schools strategy

What is clear is that the education of children for the advanced digital age requires both mental and physical development, with a greater proportion being available at home. There is little or no merit in taking the overall policy view that school should be there primarily to protect the children from their home or general environment where this does not provide sufficient mental or physical stimulus.

So, the question arises on how to ensure that sufficient physical and mental stimulus is available across most home and general environments. Physically, we can enable all Local Development Plans to be reset for Covid-19, to ensure space and opportunity, for local exercise both indoors and outside. Mentally, we can develop digital communication infrastructure and personal digital assets.

Digital tutoring in the wider sense of experience transfer is one obvious expansion, as is the increase in teaching how to ask and receive questions, which brings in more philosophy teaching in a school setting. More walking to local schools where possible, and to local exercise or gathering points. More local outside entertainment locations, with entertainment suitable for small adults.

Covid-19 is now essentially driving the pace for Curriculum for Excellence 2, and it needs to be embraced, else we risk the hellish limbo of education policy rattling between the 1970s and 2020s. Resilience needs to be replaced not simply in the local school estate but also in the home and local environment, and in line with a coherent national vision that is then applied locally.

In the meantime, it looks as if two-day or three-day school estate attendance will be required, possibly within a six-day week, with digital hub estate spaces for group digital working, where home working is not practicable. This will require to be delivered by August 11 and will likely require the wearing of masks at certain times, which further complicates matters.

So, the Holyrood 2021 elections (possibly in the Covid-19 tail) need to be definitive in delivering MSPs for the post-2020s, ready for setting out such visions that enable Scotland to invest in its future appropriately, and at the direction of its citizens, and more resilient to external events. For this reason, I would hope that it would be possible for all existing Scottish pro-indy MPs to be on the “list” vote if they so wished.

Discussions of UDI need to go well beyond the notions of a Plan B (really a UK allowed alternate Plan A) and would need to focus on whether a “big bang” UDI or a protracted milestone UDI was to be the best way forward. Which bits of reserved colonial power/funding to sort out first might be subject to both a citizens’ assembly and a referendum, and of course much division. Such options really would benefit from national discussion before the UK’s “No Deal” Tim Tam Brexit from the EU.

Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow