If your family have had money issues during the coronavirus crisis, you’re not alone

For families struggling with money issues, the coronavirus lockdown hasn’t been easy. Many families have found it hard to pay for things like extra food or phone and wifi top ups so children and young people can access digital learning.

Child Poverty Action Group logo

Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland have spoken to 1074 children and young people about what it’s been like for them while schools have been closed, the support that has helped, and how they’re feeling about the return to school. Here are some of their views:

Digital access during coronavirus:

Lack of digital access has been a problem that some pupils across Scotland have needed help with during coronavirus. Young people told Child Poverty Action Group about problems like not having access to the internet; having to share one device between siblings; only being able to look at work sent by the school on a mobile; and not having a printer at home. As well as making it hard to continue with their learning, some pupils said that lack of digital access has made it harder to stay in touch with school pals:

“I’ve been lent a chromebook which is easier as before there were 3 of us trying to share 1 laptop to get work done.”

(Boy aged 13, Midlothian)

“I share the desk top with my brother for his homework too. He is in primary school. I miss my laptop from school because I am dyslexic and it helps me more. I miss my teachers because they can help me better, especially when I’m not confident in what I’m doing. I miss my friends a lot.”

(Girl aged 12, Moray)

Wellbeing and feeling connected to friends

Some young people told Child Poverty Action Group that not having what they need to learn at home and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of school work being sent has made them worry that they have been ‘falling behind’ classmates. Some young people also shared that they were struggling with their mental health and feeling isolated.

“Wish they had a network or place for someone to talk to as isolation has been putting many teens including myself into a tough mental place and have been struggling with their mental health.”

(Girl aged 16, Dumfries and Galloway)

“We are being given too much work. It’s stressful. Work is coming in from different platforms e.g. Email and teams – work on teams is coming from different places – posts, files, assignments, class note book. Makes you anxious….Extra stress because of exam estimation.”

(Young person aged 14, Fife)

Returning to school

Young people told Child Poverty Action Group that there have been a few good things about learning at home, like teachers checking in with them to see how they’re doing and having the chance to do group learning online in calls with their classmates. But many young people said they were looking forward to being back at school. Young people said that they wanted to see their friends and teachers at school again, to get back into the old routines and have face-to-face teaching and support with work that has been challenging to do at home.

“Seeing my teacher and friends. Getting help with my work how only my teacher knows how.”

(Boy aged 10, Angus)

“Being able to have things explained in person, since it’s difficult to understand classes such as maths over email/teams.”

(Young woman aged 15, Dundee)

Worried about how your family’s money issues might affect you when you go back to school?

We completely understand that it can be hard to be open with teachers about money issues at home. But telling someone you trust at school in private might mean they can suggest things that could help, like school uniform grants or help to access welfare advice.

These are just some of the important views that children and young people shared with Child Poverty Action Group. Child Poverty Action Group are now sharing these views with schools, councils and government to help make sure children in homes that don’t have much money can still take part in all school activities.

To find out more, check out Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland’s easy to read report for young people.

You can also read more about families experiences’ of the costs of learning in lockdown here.