Nearly quarter of parents ‘have not done any home education’ amid lockdown
PUBLISHED: 09:54 30 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:53 30 April 2020
More than a fifth of parents say they are not doing any home education with their primary school-aged children during the Covid-19 lockdown, a survey suggests.
Screen time for primary school pupils has increased by around two hours a day on average amid school closures, according to the research.
The findings, published by charity Booktrust, come as MPs and social mobility experts have warned that disadvantaged children are likely to fall further behind their peers the longer schools remain shut.
Overall, 22pc of parents questioned said neither they or their partner are doing any homeschooling with their children during the lockdown, and 14pc of parents are not reading with their children.
More than half (54pc) of parents - who had children aged four to 11 - said they are finding it hard to stick to a timetable and three in four say that they are taking a “flexible” approach to school work.
MORE: Headteacher’s advice to stressed out parents - don’t try to be a teacher
Geoff Barton, a former Bury St Edmunds headteacher and general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “These figures show that a number of parents are finding it difficult to support their children’s education at home.
“We need to recognise that these are extremely challenging circumstances, and there will be a variety of reasons why this is the case, not least illnesses and bereavements caused by coronavirus.
“The good news is that schools are doing a remarkable job at providing programmes of work and support for children who are at home.”
Norfolk parents reacting on social media said even in lockdown many faced difficult choices juggling home school work with busy lives.
Michelle Vincent posted: “I have done very little. I work pretty much full time so the two days off I have with my children isn’t spent stressing out to do home schooling. My hubby is in bed most days from doing night shifts.
“Not all parents are stay at home parents that have the time.”
Norwich parent Clive Jolly said: “I do as much as I can. I have four kids with four or five bits of work to do daily. What teacher do you know that between the hours of 9am-3.30pm does 20 lessons a day?
I started off strict with learning, we are now doing two bits each a day, but we are not teachers, our kids are suffering just as much as us.”
Jon Cook added: “So what? Children learn through play, reading, participation, watching and myriad other ways.”
MORE: Schools will reopen in ‘phased manner’, but not over summer holidays
The Booktrust survey, of 2,000 parents of primary school pupils aged between four and 11, also found that children are taking part in more traditional activities, such as board games and arts and crafts.
It reveals that 47pc of parents say they are seeing their children reading more by themselves since lockdown, and 34pc of parents say their children are being read to more.
Mr Barton added: “Our message to parents is that there is no expectation for them to home-school their children. Their efforts are best aimed at supporting the learning provided by schools by helping their children to structure their day, and simple activities such as listening to them read.”
Need help with home-schooling? Education pages launched in EDP and Norwich Evening News with Twinkl
The EDP and Norwich Evening News has two-pages every day from Monday to Friday dedicated to engaging educational tools and worksheets from online education hub Twinkl to help with teaching from home.
It will cover a wide-range of subjects from the arts to science suitable for different ages, as well as handy parent’s packs which will be brimming with tips and ideas to make education fun.
More information on Twinkl
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