Covid in Scotland: Network issues a challenge to remote learning

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ArdnamurchanImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ardnamurchan is among the areas highlighted in a council report

Pupils in some rural parts of the Highlands face challenges to learning at home due to poor or "non-existent" broadband or mobile phone coverage.

A Highland Council report said affected areas included Foyers and Dores, parts of Caithness, Black Isle and Skye and Ardnamurchan and Knoydart peninsulas.

Children on Canna, Eigg, Rum and Muck also face similar challenges.

The report said local schools were making sure pupils had access to learning resources.

It said some families were also paying for satellite contracts to overcome connection issues.

Most pupils in the Highlands, like the rest of Scotland, are being taught at home - through remote learning - due to the Covid pandemic.

The report to a meeting of Highland Council's education committee next week said online learning was not possible in some places because network coverage was non-existent.

It said "significant investment" was needed to provide reliable and secure services.

But the report has also highlighted how large numbers of pupils in the region were able to benefit from remote learning because Highland Council had invested in school technology over the past five years, including thousands of Chromebook personal computers.

The local authority has also secured a Scottish government grant to buy more Chromebooks.

Resources to support learners, teachers and parents during lockdown.