COVID-19 had an unprecedented impact on society. This impact was particularly stark for children, families and frontline workers, particularly those living and working in areas of significant disadvantage. As a response to the urgent needs of children and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, public services and organisations had to adapt rapidly; putting new arrangements into place and adapting existing ones.


Policy Scotland worked in partnership with Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, local authorities and Scottish Government in undertaking research and intelligence gathering to document responses to and the impact of COVID-19 on education, children and families.

This strand of work sought to understand how local responses worked in a rapidly changing context and provide insights into the impact of COVID-19 on children and families, particularly those living in poverty. At national and local levels, Policy Scotland used its own evidence and commentary combined with emerging evidence from national and international networks to inform and support educational leaders and policymakers to develop evidence informed responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

Policy Scotland also led the development of a global network with the Universities of O’Higgins, Public University Catholica Valparaiso and Santiago in Chile and the Free University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands in partnership with the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) to share emerging research findings and move knowledge and emerging practices around the world to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 on learning, children and families.




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