Responding to COVID with a dive into the world of webinars

Cat Kozlowski, Learning and Events officer with Children in Scotland, reflects on the agency’s creative response to meeting the sectors training and learning needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes, for us at Children in Scotland it has meant that we’ve adapted our training programme to webinars that deliver CPD where it’s most needed.

Before the pandemic, delivering webinars was something that we had tried out and although we thought it had a lot of potential, development of that potential had been tucked to the side for a ‘moment when we had more time’.

At the start of March, we were feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves as we had just finalised our learning and events schedule for the next 12 months.

We would normally only plan six months ahead but 2020 was a big year for us as we had included an extra international trauma conference with Dr Bruce Perry in September and we thought it would be smart to plan ahead as much as possible.

Within days of confirming our learning programme for the next twelve months, featuring conferences, training, residentials and study trips abroad, it became apparent that COVID-19 was going to have a massive impact on life as we knew it.

We recognised that we needed to make a rapid response and it was time to dive into the world of webinars.

At times it was challenging to focus on our learning programme as our thoughts drifted to this strange new virus and the threat it posed to our loved ones, friends and colleagues. But it was also this line of thinking that gave us strength and motivated us as we thought about our role in supporting the children’s sector.

We understood that the issues children and young people face weren’t going to disappear due to COVID-19. In fact, the need for us to offer support was going to be greater than ever.

With this in mind we trialled different online presentation platforms and reached out to our trainers to see if they were open to the idea of webinars. Our trainers are experts in their fields with many, many years of experience but for nearly all of them delivering training online would be a new experience.

After a lot of trial and error we selected an IT platform, then within a week we had our trainers up to speed on how to use the software and we had delivered our first webinar. This call to action could not have happened without the dedication of our trainers and the support of our delegates.

It also meant that we were delivering webinars before lockdown came into place in Scotland.

We’d love to say that it was all smooth sailing but as we had jumped in at the deep end, we were learning something new with each webinar we delivered. This sense of learning together helped us build a feeling of community between us, our trainers and attendees – we will forever be grateful to the patience they showed us.

We have now delivered tens of webinars to over 4000 attendees and if we summed up this experience with one word it would be ‘connect’.

These webinars have helped people from Scotland and around the world to connect to ideas, experiences, knowledge and hope.

No one knows what the next stages of the pandemic will bring but we do know that we are stronger in this experience when we come together to support each other.

Details about Children in Scotland’s webinar programme can be found on the Eventbrite page and details of the More Than My Trauma webinar conference (17-18 September 2020) with Dr Bruce Perry can be found here at

Twitter: @cisweb

Author: PINScotland

Keeping you informed about Pupil Inclusion.

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