Here we go! "Looking to the future" is starting now with @DrSarahLiu as organiser and @dialect introducing the background of the project and all its accomplishments so far.…
@DrSarahLiu @dialect Huge thanks to Rowan, our first young person speaking today. “I turned 18 during lockdown.” Rowan talks about how hard it was to get a job, and how hard it was to choose a uni during lockdown since visits were canceled. #LothianDiaryProject
@DrSarahLiu @dialect Our next Young Person is Reuben. “When lockdown started I was near the end of P7.” Reuben talks about how hard it was to transition to 2ndary school without having an official end of primary school. Reuben also tells us about online Scouts, including camping! #LothianDiaryProject
@DrSarahLiu @dialect Good things about being online, though: Rowan talks about being familiar with online teaching prior to starting uni, and Reuben talks about online piano classes being successful, and both talk about the benefits of online socialising: making new friends, and playing Minecraft.
@DrSarahLiu @dialect Next up is Madison: “When lockdown first hit I was in S1.” Initially struggling a lot, didn’t feel supported in learning. The transition into S2 was “quite challenging”; the pre-tests were a struggle for many. Still haven’t had a full year of high school. #LothianDiaryProject
@DrSarahLiu @dialect Madison: Lockdown was good for getting to be around family more, but doing schoolwork online was also challenging because of internet access being shared with parents who are working from home. Mental health was challenging; it's much better being back at school now.
@DrSarahLiu @dialect Siddarth: At first “it was hard to engage with my classmate on Teams.” “It was kind of boring staying at home all the time.” “I used to play with my friends … lockdown just came and stopped it all.” #LothianDiaryProject
@DrSarahLiu @dialect Nicholas: “Lockdown was quite hard for me.” Mental health was hard. “It changed a lot about me; my whole personality basically changed over lockdown.” Schoolwork was hard and still is “finding Highers really hard.” There was a big difference between the first & second lockdowns.
@DrSarahLiu @dialect Nicholas: “It’s definitely had a toll on the school side of things, and I’ve missed out a lot…in my high school years.” It was hard to have “a sudden change” into lockdown but also “a sudden change” back to in person. #LothianDiaryProject
@DrSarahLiu @dialect Thank you so much to all five of our Young People speakers. Now we have @murdo_fraser MSP for Mid-Scotland & Fife and Deputy Convenor for the Covid Recovery Committee, remarking on the wonderful clarity and honesty of the contributions, and common themes across them all.
@DrSarahLiu @dialect @murdo_fraser Common themes @murdo_fraser notes social isolation, mental health issues, missing out on life events. "How [can we] learn from this, and do better in the future? ... We have to make sure to learn ... and not make the same mistakes." #LothianDiaryProject
Now @_MWhitfield, Scottish Labour MSP for South Scotland Region, Shadow Minister for Children, Young People & Lifelong Learning, thanking all the diariests who took the time to make the diaries themselves.
@_MWhitfield "Comments about mental health and a feel of a change in your personality was incredibly powerful...But all of you have taken something from it... Hold on to those successes." -@_MWhitfield
@_MWhitfield "The input of young people during lockdown is incredibly powerful. ... Thank you so much for doing this, it's so important people now and for people later in your lifetimes." You have experienced this in a way no others have. -@_MWhitfield
@_MWhitfield Now @willie_rennie LibDems MSP, North East Fife: "It's a complex picture...but there are some positives...Coping, the pressure to try something else, in some ways will be quite liberating. Some people will look back and think 'I've learned something new and I'm better for it."
@_MWhitfield @willie_rennie Now @jeremyRBalfour Conservative and Unionist MSP for the Lothian Region: "For me one of the interesting things has schools, we struggled initially with technology." Perhaps a private/public difference in how quickly we coped.
@_MWhitfield @willie_rennie @JeremyRBalfour "Coming out of this, from P1 on up, how do we make sure any issues around mental health are dealt with, and that people can get the appropriate help that's required?" -@jeremyRBalfour
Sarah Robertson from YouthLink Scotland: Really remarkable what young people have gone through, but also how they've coped. "Young people have a lot of the solutions." "A lot of the lockdown things were done TO them [but] they often have the answers."
Whether or not we go into another lockdown in the future, we need to "make sure that we truly are listening to young people, and that it's not tokenistic." -Sarah Robertson
Now Kayleigh (rep) from @lornaslater's office: (Greens MSP for Lothian Region) "Covid definitely emphasized existing inequalities." But "these conversations are a step towards recovery, of sorts." #LothianDiaryProject
Now: Lyn Jardine (Rep) from @paulmclennan7's office:
(SNP MSP for East Lothian) "All of you have shared somethings that us as adults might not recognize as readily as we should." But what came across the most from all the young speakers was RESILIENCE. #LothianDiaryProject
Natalie, Reuben's mum, discusses the continuing impact of that lockdown's effects on current students who are dealing with exams and not feeling as ready as they might, and this needs to be supported going forward.
Nicholas speaks to the potential disparity between private and public schools; he attends a private school and still feels quite behind. He also notes how the difference in weather made the second lockdown (in the winter) so much harder than the first one (in the summer).
Rowan comments on the exam situation and how stressful it was because no one knew what was going on, not even the teachers. "The uncertainty around that was quite difficult."
A mum of a P2 pupil points out: "This isn't over year. They are still missing out." For example, they still can't have a nativity. It's just a small thing but there's so much they don't even understand yet that they're still missing out on.
Andrew, "a former employer," points out that he'd be very impressed indeed at any young person who had coped with the lockdown and made it through: "See it as an asset on your CVs."
Prashant says: "I must say I had a very different experience during lockdown," "I moved in with a friend...The best decision I made." Took up old hobbies and enjoyed "the whole experience of checking back to my childhood," along with volunteering for the NHS.
Margaret, a mum of a 13yo says that the 2nd lockdown was harder for her S1 "they didn't know the students so well; and also had zoom/teams fatigue by then." #LothianDiaryProject
"They missed out on getting to know other young people in High School, and currently finding it hard to join new clubs etc. Other parents ... [of] S2s say the same thing - a loss of confidence." -Margaret, #LothianDiaryProject
In the chat @rachelhapper2 says: "I think the mental health needs of young people have increased significantly alongside many of the facilities and opportunities that mitigate against mental health problems and builds resilience." #LothianDiaryProject
@rachelhapper2 Another young contributor, Anushka notes how kids initially liked the idea of getting to stay home, but not seeing friends, who are the most important thing, was hard. "Being home was making me upset, I didn't like it." But, she learned baking, and how to play the piano.
@rachelhapper2 "School was very hard... but, I matured quickly. It was this brand new experience I had to adapt to. And when I got the hang of it, I felt like I'd taken over the world!" -Anushka, S2 #LothianDiaryProject
@rachelhapper2 Another great link from Sarah Robertson:…
@rachelhapper2 Siddarth talks about how both of his parents had very bad reactions to their #Covid19 vaccines, and how he's worried about the possibility of another lockdown.
@rachelhapper2 Rowan talks about how she didn't get to sit either Highers or Advanced Highers, and what a loss that was. Rowan also mentions the concerns around child protection where cameras weren't supposed to on: this really negatively impacted, e.g., interaction in online drama class.
@rachelhapper2 "A lot of the comments that the young people have made about education should be remembered and looked at. ... We should be versatile, we should be imaginative." Not just in case of lockdowns but, e.g., for children with illnesses where they have to learn from home -@_MWhitfield.
Margaret adds that her daughter said that the first lockdown "felt like a holiday" because there was very little or no follow-up from the schools on the learning materials. "The education side was difficult, and that is reflected in mental health concerns."
Natalie agrees with Margaret that one of the challenges around home learning was the "changing dynamic at home when you [the parent] take[s] on a teaching role." #parenting #Covid19
@rachelhapper2 speaks to the rise in mental health issues, e.g., OCD. Yes we need to increase mental health services, but "we also have to remember our youth clubs and youth workers and all the things that make and keep our young people well and healthy."
@rachelhapper2 Relatedly, @_MWhitfield closes out the event by pointing out that the creative arts are absolutely essential in this regard. #mentalhealth #youngpeople #Covid19 #LothianDiaryProject

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