Microsoft says computer delays that blighted the first day of the new home schooling term across Scotland have now been resolved.
Thousands of pupils faced delays accessing online learning with some reporting they struggled to get logged on all day.
Families face at least a further three weeks of home schooling due to the latest coronavirus lockdown restrictions forcing classrooms to be closed.
On Monday the Scottish Government stressed the issue stemmed from Microsoft’s systems – explaining the problems were extending beyond schools and Scotland.
Microsoft confirmed the delays had been resolved on Monday night and services, including home schooling, were now expected to return to normal.
Reassurance from First Minister after delays
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attempted to reassure parents and pupils at the daily coronavirus briefing by explaining the issue was not unique to Scotland.
She said: “Let me begin by acknowledging that today sees many teachers, parents and young people embarking on another period of home-schooling.
“There are a range of resources and support available however I know some of you might be having an issue this morning with Microsoft Teams.
“This is not an issue that is unique to Scotland or indeed to schools but I understand Microsoft is currently working to address it.
“But more generally I don’t underestimate, and I want to be very clear about this, how difficult this both from an educational perspective, how difficult this is for young people.
“Not just learning at home but learning away from your friends.”
Schools across Scotland report issues accessing online learning
Moray Council reported that the Glow system, which is the platform used for online learning in many areas, was running “slow” while encouraging pupils to persist and show patience.
A social media post said: “Microsoft Teams via Glow is wee bit slow to get going this morning, this is a national issue, not just Moray – please don’t worry if it’s taking time to get logged in, you’re not alone and you’re not doing anything wrong. Keep trying and you will get in.”
A Facebook message posted by Elgin Academy explained students were unable to log in until their “third or fourth attempt”.
Elgin High School head teacher Hugh McCulloch thanked families for their patience and support while the issues were being resolved.
Peterhead Academy told parents the issue was affecting the whole UK while similar issues were experienced at the beginning of the first lockdown last year.
Updates from Education Scotland explained their engineers worked with Microsoft through the day to try and resolve the problem.
A website message said: “We understand some of our users continue to experience issues with the Microsoft Teams service. We can confirm that the Glow team continue to work closely with the Senior Microsoft Account team on the issues being experienced.”
Glow reported: “Microsoft is experiencing issues with the Teams service across the UK.
“This is not exclusive to the Glow platform and we are in contact with Microsoft to ensure these issues are resolved as soon as possible.”
Concerns about effect of home schooling
Concerns had been raised about the effect slow broadband connections across the north-east would have on home schooling on the eve of the new term.
Research done by Scottish Labour candidate Barry Black has found nearly one in 10 Aberdeenshire homes cannot access internet speeds considered “decent” by Ofcom.
The Scottish Conservatives have warned that the attainment gap is at risk of widening for as long as virtual learning is being used.
The Scottish Government has stressed it has invested £25million during the coronavirus pandemic to reduce digital exclusion during lockdown.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said: “Our engineers have resolved an issue that resulted in some customers experiencing difficulties accessing Microsoft Teams and uploading files. Services have returned to normal.”