Keep kids out of school this summer and give hard-working teachers a rest

boy and girl looking at butterfy through magnifying glass, kids learning nature

Children need to spend the summer having fun and getting out and about rather than being stuck in a classroom, says Ruth Davies - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We’ve reached the final lap of home school and with children returning to school on Monday it’s inevitable that conversations pose questions surrounding what they have missed educationally while away.

How far behind are they? What should we do to bring them back to where they should be? Will opening schools over the summer provide them with a better chance?

This is what I’ve seen on social media since the PM’s announcement for school resuming alongside a lot of big opinions that teachers need to be 'getting back in the classroom' over summer and “'doing their jobs'

Only… It seems to be forgotten (or perhaps unnoticed) that they didn’t stop working. At all!

Not during the first lockdown and not in this last one either while continuing to work between, through holidays, during evenings, weekends and while often home schooling their own children to boot.

I have a high school teacher friend who hasn’t been able to take up a key worker place for her own family due to her at-risk husband.

As well as juggling her own two offspring ensuring they are educated, entertained, well, fed, cared for, loved and happy, she has been running live classes for her Year 11s, lesson planning, sending out remote learning to some kids and doing all the usual preparation, training, meetings and paperwork that teachers who don’t start at 9am and finish at 3pm (I’ve never met one of these rare breeds of teacher everyone keeps talking about) have to do.

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She, along with every other teacher I know, has worked harder this past 12 months than she has any other.

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It’s been a massive workload for all in education (not just teachers) with strange measures they’ve had to quickly adapt to, last minute government announcements that have had to be adhered to and all this on top of putting themselves and their families at risk every time they set foot in school with key worker and vulnerable children.

Most, even those who have largely been working from home, have been into school at some point and the fact they haven’t been offered a vaccine as a priority, yet have worked on regardless, makes that even more commendable.

I’m surprised every time I hear a moan about teachers who have expressed the need to be given the vaccine.

Why shouldn’t they get it over others when they are more at risk than others?

They’ve potentially been on the front line for catching the virus so wouldn’t you express the same desire if in that same position?

Regardless, they’ve still been working without it and to insinuate it’s been a bit of a jolly is frankly quite offensive.

To suggest they now don’t have a break at all is barbaric!

Teachers are the ones who have kept things going for everyone else!

Schools being open has afforded the rest of the country to keep moving and our children being given remote learning at home has often had to be last minute, without precedence and done without any help!

Teachers are close to burn out and in need of rest at the end of a normal term, after this past academic year they probably need a few months in a spa to properly unwind! So, I do not think teachers need to be working over the summer just to catch children up to where they should have been.

Children have had the most surreal and difficult year of their little lives.

The emotional impact on this time away from real life will be developing for years and I don’t believe children need to be 'brought back to where they should be' as we change the goal posts for them yet again.

All children, are in the same boat. Some will have learned more and others will have struggled, some will have had access to top notch teaching and there will be those who have relied on parents like me who knew less than them in the first place. But they have all been away from school and they are all at the same disadvantage in that.

What they need now is not vigorous testing or teaching, they just need a bit of love actually. And fun!

They need to have a fun summer filled with a lightness, laughter and normality.

They need to run wild with their friends, feel sun on their skin, eat good food, set their toes on a sandy beach, walk around cities and countryside and breathe in real life from every corner.

Then we all start again next year and hope and pray this never happens again as we take our children, with a now nurtured heart, to work on their education from September.

A new year when they and their teachers are well rested and ready to take on the world.

Because everyone is a bit broken right now, taking on the world this minute is too much!

They need a moment to breathe now and we, as parents, should take that moment with them.

Let’s inhale this summer with a hoped for freedom.

Let’s relish it, love our children’s company and feed their souls.

It’s the way forward. It’s the way out of here!

More: Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at