The impact of Covid-19 on families in rural areas


In collaboration with Policy Scotland and Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, the Network for Social and Educational Equity is undertaking a programme of research and intelligence gathering in high poverty settings across Scotland that seeks to understand how local responses are working in the current rapidly changing context and provide insights that can support the next phase of COVID-19 action at both local and national levels.

At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, many families across Scotland faced increased financial pressures, challenges supporting children’s home learning and added stress on their mental health and wellbeing.

In rural areas, these challenges were amplified by limited access and reductions in public transport links and local support services and the unspoken stigma often associated with poverty.

Staff on the frontline of the pandemic response in these areas spoke about and identified the issues which came to the fore during the lockdown period.

In summary, the insights of frontline workers interviewed as part of this research suggested the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on some rural communities, particularly those who were already experiencing poverty or disadvantage. The issues and challenges faced by families in rural communities due to the pandemic displayed both similarities and differences to communities in other geographical settings as discussed. Increasing understanding of the specific differences experienced by those in rural communities can support targeted recovery planning in these areas.

To read the briefing in full, you can download the pdf on the Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland website.

Picture by Efraimstochter (



We are the Network for Social and Educational Equity, based in the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow. We work with governments, educational institutions, local authorities and teachers to promote educational change.

Leave a Reply

About NSEE

The Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE) is part of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC) at the University of Glasgow.

It works in collaboration with schools, local authorities, Education Scotland and partner services to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap in young people’s education.

NSEE helps schools to use appropriate evidence and data within collaborative working approaches to critically examine context and current arrangements, make changes based on evidence, monitor the impact of these changes and reflect on what they learn.

Recent Posts


Sign up for our Newsletter