CIE0370

Written evidence submitted by Sept. for Schools campaign group

 

 

To

Mr Robert Halfon MP, Chair and the Members of the Education Select Committee

From

Sept. for Schools campaign group

 

 

 

RE: Parents’ experiences of home schooling

 

On 5th July, we submitted responses from hundreds of parents across the country, describing their experiences of home schooling during the pandemic and drawing out key themes for the committee to consider (submission ref. LEI124228).

 

On 12th July, we submitted our proposals for home schooling guidelines, to mitigate the negative impact of future lockdowns on parents and children across our nation (submission ref. BPV881798).

 

At Sept. for Schools, we have continued to be inundated by parents’ stories of home schooling during lockdown. Between Wednesday 8th July and Friday 10th July, we had received more than 1,700, and they are attached to this submission. We urge you to read each and every one. These are from families across the length and breadth of the country. Juggling work, homeschooling and childcare is taking its toll on families and is simply not sustainable any longer.

 

The key themes are the same as those we submitted previously:

 

Parents are clear that the government should prioritise implementing the effective and full return to education for all children in September.

If homeschooling is to be part of the government’s plan while the pandemic lasts, it needs significant improvements.

 

Please help us in holding the Department for Education to account for the return of all children to school in September, and in finding sustainable, workable and fair solutions for any further home learning that the pandemic may require.  

 

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the work of our campaign by phone or a Zoom call.

Sincerely,

The September for Schools Working Group


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collated by Sept for Schools from anonymised feedback supplied when asked

“As a parent what have your experiences of home schooling been during lockdown?”

 

 

  1. Work has been generally ok. My daughter is diligent and self-motivated so has done well. She misses the questions asked by classmates that she hadn’t thought of that makes her learn more. I am surprised how very few children turn up to zoom lessons and the fact nothing is said by the school. Class of 30 and sometimes only 2 or 3 students are online. The school changed the day from x5 lessons to x3 lessons. Not sure that was the best idea - rationale being they spent longer on each of the 3 lessons. I think a lot of children will be way behind where they could have been in lock down. Busy families where children are not motivated will have suffered educationally.’

 

 

  1. ‘My 5 year old struggles to read. He has a brilliant teacher who had been investigating strategies with him. Home schooling was hard - any literacy stuff was traumatic for both of us. He went back to a year 0 bubble and did more writing in 2.5 days than 10 weeks of lockdown. The teacher has been able to write a report for the SENCO. The school provided worksheets via the website, but he refused to do them at home. He has been doing them in class. He needs the structure and environment and the skills of a qualified teacher. A couple of phone calls from his teacher were supportive and reassuring for me but not helpful for him.’

 

 

  1. ‘Home schooling has been excellent. I get a lot of time with my son get and my little one enjoys his sibling time. My child enjoys his Google classroom.’

 

 

  1. ‘I’ve been home schooling an 8 year old and a 4 year old with the help of my husband. We’ve struggled to fit it in around our work I work part time and my husband works full time. Keeping one younger child occupied while our older child does school work is completely unsustainable and we’ve only received one phone call from the school asking how we’re doing. The materials provided have been ok but we’ve had no online lessons from the teacher which I would have appreciated. Even if my son has managed to complete the work given it only equates to about an hour a day. He is a good student when at school but home schooling during lock down has left him demotivated, bored and fed up. He can’t wait to go back to school!’

 

 

  1. ‘Quantity and breadth of work was reasonable however there was little interaction with the class teacher. There was opportunity to email them as required however only so much can be done over email. My daughter got bored with the routine and was not challenged.’

 

 

  1. ‘Experience has been mixed. It started well with a sensible amount of work set each day - about 3 hrs (my child is in Yr6) but the teachers were very resistant to using Zoom and drew the unions in, which meant that most children were having no contact with their students. They have now gone back on this. Some marking of work would have been v welcome. I tried to do this but found it v difficult due to working FT. I had some nervousness about my son returning to school but am so glad he has. He’s benefiting from the structure and seeing his friends and it’s made mine and my husband’s lives easier. I know a lot of people have found lockdown difficult and we are nowhere near the poverty line, but we’ve still found it incredibly stressful and draining - trying to both work FT, home school our two boys and keep the house going. I can completely sympathise with women who say that they feel they’ve returned to the 1950s.’

 

 

  1. ‘The quality of work given during Covid-19 has been roughly about 65%, comparing to being taught in school. Teacher have also decreased in the excepted level of work from students, this therefore has created a equal balance. However student are now months behind, I'm concerned how my son will catch up, we can not create extra months though an academic year, this will impact upon the following school years. My son also has a EHC, learning disabilities, so I know he at more risk of getting further behind than he was before Covid-19. I want to know how these three issues I present are going to be tackled and resolved. My son's education matters.’

 

 

  1. ‘It has been incredibly difficult to even attempt hone schooling whilst trying to work a full time job. I have 3 kids and my husband is a teacher (which makes like harder not easier when it comes to trying to home school). I feel guilty all the time that I’m not doing enough in any area of our family life. My kids are falling behind, hiding work, not asking for help. I don’t have time to spend working through it with them, so they are left to their own devices. They have very little structure to their days despite us trying every day! They miss their friends, routine, order, support and have missed all of the extra curricular activities that help them to feel engaged. They are anxious now about going back to school. They use their devices way more than before. We have no clear plan of a way forward. We can go shopping, to a restaurant and out for drinks but our kids don’t know when they will be back in school. I’m so worried that my children will always be behind. How will they ever catch up??’

 

 

  1. ‘We have been pretty much left to our own devices with home schooling. A learning grid is issued each week with various afternoon activities but the key maths, English etc we have been told to look online with little support or guidance. Thank goodness my child is in year 6 so at least he has had a few weeks of 2 days per week. What we would have done without this I am not sure. I feel sorry for parents without this lifeline. Everyone in the teacher profession seems to have looked for problems rather than solutions. We can get shops, pubs, hairdressers open but not our children back to school. A shocking state of affairs without even going to the economic consequences of so many parents having to do childcare rather than work.’

 

 

  1. ‘Limited contact from school to give feedback and no real online lessons. I am concerned about the impact of my Year 10’s progress and how they catch up in Year 11.’

 

 

  1. ‘My daughter’s school has been very good, stepping up and continue to deliver lessons for the girls. I felt very lucky and privileged to have such an experience - no doubt because it is a private school with high academic achievements. I am however appalled by the lack of interactions from my daughter’s peers who are at various school in the local vicinity- though all rated outstanding by Ofcom - the lack of interactions between the school and students were surprising. To be set homework once a week and not engage with students for long periods - especially amongst teenagers who needs parameters- is woeful neglect. 4 months of work without supervision will leave students behind in these critical year leading to GCSE. Those who have parents who takes a vested interest into their academic achievements have fared better but our children are at a level whereby parents can’t always help anymore academically. I would fear for their mental health if schools are not reopening in Sept. whilst hard work can allow for children to catch up academically, mental health isn’t something that be be fixed easily and will have long term impact in their development.’

 

 

  1. ‘Home schooling has been a tricky balance with working full time, however both boys have progressed well. The engagement with the kids from the school has been diabolical with no more than 2 shits given about children’s well-being and progression. Saying this I am very worried about sending my children back to school in September as coronavirus will still be in highly infectious and the thought of 30 kids in a confined space is giving me sleepless nights already. A better balance in my mind would be to Move all learning on line until a vaccine is found and stop putting people’s wealth before health.’

 

 

  1. ‘My experience of home schooling 3 children aged 5, 9 and 13 has been hard, and made all the harder by seeing how differently my children's school, one private and the other state-funded, responded. Children educated privately benefitted from live teaching, personal feedback and no interruption to learning. The state-educated children were given a pile of materials and exercises, posted on Google Classroom. No live teaching, or feedback on work. No support for learning. What angers me most is the excuses we were given, eg that Zoom or Teams cannot be used because of GDPR issues. Why have so many private schools embraced these technologies and managed to navigate the GDPR constraints? Luckily, I spent time with my children, sacrificing my work, and kept them learning. Even so, they missed being taught by a professional. I hate to think what has happened in families where parents did not/could not dedicate the time or didn't have the technology. When this situation was developing, parents were left at the behest of teachers, in turn hiding behind the advice of unions. It was the role of the Government and of the Education Minister to speak up for us, to look after the interests of our children. Instead, they left it to the Headteachers to decide, and who wouldn't choose a 4 month paid holiday over 4 months of hard work, teaching online etc. ?! It's not fair to children. Our Government must do better, we cannot have a repeat of this scandal.’

 

 

  1. ‘Has been v difficult to work try and get 10/13 and 15 yr olds to do schoolwork. All at different schools. Very different working methods offered by each with varying success. Motivation in recent weeks has been the main problem and resistance especially from 10yr old to do any work they are asked for. There has been a total lack of visual /video chat etc and no live lessons for both 10 and 15 yr olds which hasn’t helped. I actually made a point of buying CGP workbooks for my 10yr old as I preferred him to try and get more down on paper/practice his handwriting rather than spend yet more time in front of a screen... Something I am very concerned with that should be addressed at government level (both education, health and digital departments) - and at risk of sounding like an anti 5G fanatic - is the suddenly much increased dependence on tech/WiFi not just socially but now in the classroom. The pandemic has meant we are ALL on it 24/7 and i completely accept that it has been a lifeline in so many ways for home schooling and wider working practices. However with the aim now to ‘not go back’ to how things were (Matt Hancock speaking just this morning on Andrew Marr), where are the risk assessments for the technology now accepted and needed as part of our lives?’

 

 

  1. ‘My year 9 daughter seemed to be doing ok until an email in early June was received saying she hadn’t done her RE homework, a week later, again a similar email. We just asked her to do the missing homework. However, a few days later, we received another email saying she has 30 tasks missing since April-May of lockdown. She had a lot of catching up to do before her year end exams. Why we were not told or emailed earlier was disappointing. She is in a state school. Both parents work in the NHS and home schooling was minimal, with the odd look over the shoulder to see what the children are doing. We needed earlier and closer feedback from the teachers if tasks are not being done.’

 

 

  1. ‘It’s been good overall but my daughter suffers from lack of peer interaction and is not personally engaging with the lessons. She’s doing the work but in a detached way.’

 

 

  1. ‘Very light workload (4 exercises a day); hardly any interaction with Teacher, no videoconferencing. Child bored around 11am and having to find other stuff to do to keep occupied till 3pm. Can’t wait for said child to go back to school!!’

 

 

 

  1. ‘A good balance of work, videos and interaction with teachers, but expected more work overall. Child easily distracted, don’t believe the knowledge is getting in. Can’t wait for school to reopen.’

 

  1. ‘The majority of the work set has been workbooks the children can work through on their own – with some help from parents. The teachers have spoken to our children (8 and 10 years old) once a week for 10-15 mins a time and then also speak to us for 5-10 mins. It has meant good bonding for all of us and has enabled us parents to have a much better understanding of what our children and learning and of how amazing the teachers are. It would have been good in the early weeks to have had some video calls just to set the kids on their way but that wasn’t really possible with our school. They are at an Ark school but part of the reasoning was that some children wouldn’t have access to technology to support this. I think it’s very disappointing that some children will be missing out on schooling because their parents don’t have the money to source the technology required.’

 

 

  1. ‘No feedback, marking or learning objectives provided to pupils. No phone calls whatsoever. Class Dojo weekly email directing parents to website with weekly learning on it- using White Rose Maths and Twinkl worksheets. No quality provided or depth of learning. No follow up work. Teaching staff therefore no idea what pupils have done or not. No idea of how this fits into curriculum plans (if at all).’

 

 

  1. ‘Primary school team have been fantastic! Regular contact from entire team, work packs, online learning, regular contact from class teacher. Home working has been fun and completed. Only negative, we have felt work has increased in last couple of weeks where usually the children are on wind down and enjoying fun end of year events.’

 

 

  1. ‘Children in Y6 and Y4. Both in private schools (different). Excellent virtual provision during Easter term. One on Google Classrooms (Y6), even when they physically went back to school after half-term, the virtual programme continued as some kids chose to stay at home. The other was on Zoom meetings all morning and virtual work via Juno in the afternoon. The afternoon programme was difficult as they needed supervision. Social contact for both of them was really important. Y4 got two weeks back at physical school at the end of term (they have already broken up 3 July) and benefitted hugely from it.’

 

 

  1. ‘My Child is in Year 2 The school has been uploading home learning documents year group on a weekly . It has been difficult engaging my 7 year old to work from home as well working rom home myself and keeping 2 younger children entertained. I think if the teachers were few video sessions with their classes every week it would have encouraged the kids to complete their work. Due to safeguarding policies school, the teachers were not allowed to have video calls with their class. we have had 3 phone from the teacher since lockdown. The lack of contact with teachers and class mates has had a negative impact on my child and harder for her to focus on her home learning. Unless your child submitting their work there has not been any feedback from their teacher or school. The school has set up a profile on Instagram to show off all the work achieved by the pupils of the school, I had to unfollow page due to feeling inadequate with home learning!’

 

 

  1. ‘As a single working parent I have struggled to manage work with childcare and home schooling, and my daughter has been disadvantaged by our circumstances. The school generates 1 piece of work for writing, science or geography and reading each week, supplemented by links to educational resources. The school has given poor guidance on what is expected, there has been no set work and we have no direct contact with the class teacher, with the exception of a 2 minute call to my daughter in June. Communication with school has been a struggle and when it has been possible to speak to a member of staff the advice is to do the best you can, the school will assess where children are when they return and take it from there. My daughter was already struggling with her learning and I don't know whether this gap will have widened. Further, I am concerned that there will be a general lowering of standards to mask the adverse impact to my daughters education, as OFTSED measures progress and not achievement.’

 

 

  1. ‘To be fair to my children’s school, teachers have done their best to keep learning going using Google classroom. My Y12 and Y10 has been particularly prioritised because of exams next year. That said, other than a 10 minute face to face appointment with their form tutor and two days later this week to sit tests, they have not returned to school for any lessons. My Y7 has had lots of work set, but the onus is on her to get it done - hard for a child who had only just settled into the secondary school routine. The past 15 weeks have been horrendous for me as a working mother. My three children have been off rolled for the whole time. I have been forced to work from home, but my husband has had to go in to his office which means all the burden of dealing with the children has fallen on me. Life would have been far easier if I could have been furloughed, but being in the public sector this was not an option. My employer has not been at all supportive of the extra burdens falling on mothers. I feel compromised as a mother and compromised as an employee - like I have failed in both spheres. I am exhausted and very low but I have to keep jollying along for the sake of my children. I resent deeply this situation being imposed on me and my family. The way in which the response to Covid 19 has been handled means the pressure and stress has fallen largely on working families - a group which does not yet enjoy financial security and is still shouldering the responsibility of child rearing. It has also meant the burden falls unfairly on mothers. Over 90% of Covid deaths are among those aged over 60, but children are not at risk. Children and young people have their whole lives ahead of them and still have to make their way in life. To lock them up and deprive them of the education, training and opportunities the older generations have enjoyed freely is an outrage. Inter generational unfairness’s were acute before this, but now they are off the scale. This government has no regard for children - and none for families (especially mothers) either. I will never forgive those in power (politicians, the media, teaching unions) for what they have done to children and young people. It’s a disgrace - children should always come first. What sort of society puts the needs of adults before those of children. Shame on those responsible. I am sorry to rant but too many people have been made to suffer needlessly in all this. Thank you for all you are doing and for letting me have my say!’

 

 

  1. ‘Very difficult . My daughter needs structure and teacher focus and has struggled to motivate herself.’

 

 

  1. ‘Independent School - excellent support throughout lockdown. Contacted every week via phone call. Work uploaded weekly, lots and lots of daily work to do covering all subjects. All work marked and commented on. The only aspect my child missed was the socialisation with friends - I do not think the academic side has slipped too much at all.’

 

 

  1. ‘We feel like we have been left almost entirely to fend for ourselves as a family. Neither of our children had any contact from their teachers for the first three months of lockdown. Home schooling has been via the DB Primary platform with lesson plans and links shared on a weekly basis for the children and parents to access and navigate themselves. Whilst the content is ok, accessing it has been challenging - links don’t work, documents are in non-standard formats. There has been very little effort made to adapt the content to on-line, make it usable or engaging. After 16 weeks our kids are both bored and struggling to stay motivated. There has been no guidance for parents in how to best support or facilitate our children’s learning. The school has never asked us how our kids are or how we are, or entered into any dialogue to assess how Home learning is going and whether what they are providing can be improved. Requests for more contact via phone calls or video calls was strongly rejected initially by the head teacher on the grounds of ‘safeguarding’ and the teachers not having the capacity to support. Only after raising via governors and encouraging other parents to raise their concerns have zoom calls been offered, and only then in the final 3 weeks of term. We remain mystified by what the teachers were actually doing before years R, 1 and 2 returned to school. The leadership of the school has been exposed by this crisis. Underlying issues with quality of communication, a very ‘parent child’ relationship with parents, a real lack of interest in utilising the considerable expertise and talents offered by parents, lack of sharing knowledge or best practice, focus on results over a more holistic, creative approach have all been laid bare. I remain absolutely flabbergasted, shocked and angry at how badly my children and my family have been let down by their school and the government . As working parents it has been a huge strain on us and our family unit to navigate working from home, full time childcare and ‘home schooling’. We have very little confidence in either our school or the governments approach to September or the inevitable local lockdowns etc to come over the winter. End of year report would be graded as ‘Very Poor with much room for improvement’

 

 

  1. ‘Our teenagers have really struggled to stay motivated and engaged in their work. My daughter in Y11 feels very distant from friends and support networks. The school has provided work through Google classroom. Pastoral staff have also been in touch. Key stage tutors have sent wellbeing information and the school has emphasised looking after mental health.’

 

 

  1. We have a Year 7 and Year 10 child, and one laptop to share between them, so prioritising Yr 10. We are both working full time from home. This means it is very hard to give proper support to the Year 7 - who needs help to understand what she needs to do. It is very stressful, as we are both self-employed - every hour not worked is no pay ( we don't qualify for any govt help). The school has been excellent in setting work, and interesting work, so we have no issue with the school, teachers are also marking and giving useful feedback. Year 10 is now back for one morning a week, Yr7 going for 15 mins at the very end of term. They need to be more fully back. It's hard for them to maintain their friendships, it's hard to understand new concepts being taught, and I am concerned about the GCSEs that are looming next year.

 

 

  1. As a single working parent I have struggled to manage work with childcare and home schooling, and my daughter has been disadvantaged by our circumstances. The school generates 1 piece of work for writing, science or geography and reading each week, supplemented by links to educational resources. The school has given poor guidance on what is expected, there has been no set work and we have no direct contact with the class teacher, with the exception of a 2 minute call to my daughter in June. Communication with school has been a struggle and when it has been possible to speak to a member of staff the advice is to do the best you can, the school will assess where children are when they return and take it from there. My daughter was already struggling with her learning and I don't know whether this gap will have widened. Further, I am concerned that there will be a general lowering of standards to mask the adverse impact to my daughters education, as OFTSED measures progress and not achievement.’

 

 

  1. My Child is in Year 2 The school has been uploading home learning documents year group on a weekly . It has been difficult engaging my 7 year old to work from home as well working rom home myself and keeping 2 younger children entertained. I think if the teachers were few video sessions with their classes every week it would have encouraged the kids to complete their work. Due to safeguarding policies school, the teachers were not allowed to have video calls with their class. we have had 3 phone from the teacher since lockdown. The lack of contact with teachers and class mates has had a negative impact on my child and harder for her to focus on her home learning. Unless your child submitting their work there has not been any feedback from their teacher or school. The school has set up a profile on Instagram to show off all the work achieved by the pupils of the school, I had to unfollow page due to feeling inadequate with home learning!’

 

 

  1. ‘Primary school team have been fantastic! Regular contact from entire team, work packs, online learning, regular contact from class teacher. Home working has been fun and completed. Only negative, we have felt work has increased in last couple of weeks where usually the children are on wind down and enjoying fun end of year events.’

 

 

  1. ‘Under normal circumstances, I work 4 days a week and my husband works full time in a very demanding job. We have three children, in years 5, 3 and reception. To say that the last four months have been stressful would be a huge understatement. We are very lucky to have our jobs, however, we have continued to work whilst home schooling. This has led to a shift system whereby, we each only work half a day and spend the other half home schooling or looking after the children, including cooking and all the clearing up that goes with 5 people eating 3 meals a day at home. 
  2. When schools opened up to some year groups, we were told that they did not have the space for our reception child. After two weeks of negotiations, including pointing out the woeful lack of home learning for reception (the rest of the school has transitioned brilliantly to online schooling), our youngest started school. But only 9.30-13.00. 
  3. Until this point, we had zero work set for our reception aged child, meaning that all spare time was spent researching activities so she could ‘learn through play’ as we were constantly being told should be the case for a 5 year old. We needed activities for her as otherwise she would disrupt her siblings’ work. 
  4. Since then, we have only two children at home, which whilst an improvement, is still extremely stressful. We are very much looking forward to the holidays. Although, without any holiday clubs, we are looking at a difficult summer, one where the kids will be ignored for periods when we will need to work. 
  5. All three children are normally very active and all three have gained weight - a trend I have noticed in the kids being dropped off in the years that have Been allowed back to school. The lack of exercise And not seeing their friends has had mental health implications too. 
  6. The youngest was very withdrawn until she went beck to school. The two still at home are constantly angry and home schooling is ruining our relationship with them and between my husband and me. 

 

  1. I am feeling fairly upbeat at the moment, knowing that once the holidays start, at least we won’t have work to get them to do. However, September fills me with dread. The thought of any sort of home schooling is awful. And I worry that the Proposed staggered drop-offs/pick-ups will just mean that we will spend an hour at the beginning and end of each day escorting kids to and from school. if they are also part-time, this will continue to have an effect on our productivity. 
  2. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore took the words out of my mouth: how is opening pubs more important than educating children? 
  3. Please keep me anonymous.’

 

 

  1. ‘Overall home schooling has been ok. My daughter is in currently in Y5. The school's online 'classroom' was very well prepared with plenty for the children to do. My main concern was that my daughter missed out on her interventions. She has social anxiety and executive function disorder. She became quite withdrawn about 6 weeks into home schooling, doing her work ok but not wanting to join in with class Zoom chats or with group chats with a few school friends. Transition for her has not happened, as y5 were not seen, I feel, as a priority for returning to school; even though they will be taking their SATS next year! So September is going to be quite difficult for us as a family, as I know that she is going to struggle going back to school. At least if she had the opportunity to go for a few days before the summer holidays, she could have seen some friends, reconnected with them and had the opportunity to meet her new teacher and see her new classroom. And with everything else that they are going to have to catch up on, I'm worried that her interventions for social anxiety etc, are going to be forgotten about until at least the new year, which doesn't give them long to work with her.’

 

 

  1. ‘I have a highly perfectionist son who hasn’t driven himself into the ground trying to get the school work done! There is too much work as it is and with the extended tasks he is in a high state of anxiety and he’s very vocal about how hard he’s finding it and can’t regulate himself and he wont accept any help. I feel so ground down and very weepy as I can’t take much more. If all pupils can go back in September, why can’t they have somebody this in the last 2 weeks or so? I have to turn work away because I can’t manage it with the constant interruptions and emotional outbursts from my son.’

 

 

  1. ‘I can honestly say that our family life during the full lockdown with both parents in our family working, caring for 2 young children (2 and 5 years old), the eldest in reception, so also trying to home-school her during her first year of school has been the hardest, most stressful experience of our lives. I feel that working parents have been silently suffering during this time. Being expected to take on multiple roles, all at once and in one space, has been an impossible task and has tested and pushed all our relationships and had a detrimental affect on the well being of the whole family. I really thought we were the only ones really struggling during this time - turns out I was wrong. 
  2. We were hugely relieved when the government announced the return of schools (year R, 1 and 6) in June however we then had another turn on the emotional rollercoaster when we were told that our infant school decided to disregard the government guidance and bring back Y2 children instead. We strongly feel the best place for our child to learn is in a school environment. At home there are distractions, not least of which is her younger sibling, and we had so many battles trying to persuade, bribe and beg her to engage with her school tasks. The education sector as a whole has been extremely negative and focused on what cant be done rather than adopting a pro-active and 'can do' attitude. Sadly I can only attribute it to a lack of financial incentive for schools and teachers to return to work that is clearly at play in other sectors who have bent over backwards to return to work in a safe a way as possible. 
  3. This is NOT a long-term or sustainable situation - for those of us who are lucky enough to have kept our jobs we cannot be expected to perform at a reduced capacity any longer at work. Our school demonstrated ZERO acknowledgement of the pressure and stress working parents are under and I know of examples of when parents struggling have sought help from the school, they have taken the attitude of 'well others are coping ok so...'. 
  4. I would like to see much clearer guidance for schools so that individual heads are unable to take decisions that disadvantage some children over others. We are not in a position to be considering a move to a private school but should the lack of access to education continue in September we will employ a tutor as we can no longer fulfill the additional role of educators. I am pleased that Sept for Schools are taking up the mantel of representing working parents who are (attempting to) home-school during this time.’

 

 

  1. ‘I found home schooling ok with a Foundation yr child aged 5. School assume you had the resources at home already which I didn’t. We did probably more work at home than she would have done at school but without the play element!  I think the teachers could have made more effort to do online classes for the kids to interact with.
  2. She did return to school for 2 weeks but I’m not really sure what they did as I felt when lockdown started again I was having to go back steps as they didn’t reinforce what we had been teaching at home. 
  3. Going back to school with her peers was important for social development. She stayed within her bubble. Not sure how they are going to manage this with 25-30 kids in a class.’

 

 

  1. ‘I have two daughters age 7 and 9 who attend the same school. I was previously working as a freelance designer but because most of my work was cancelled and my children are at home I am now a full time teacher. I am lucky that I have the time to dedicate to teaching them but this has still not been easy and at certain points has been extremely challenging. My eldest daughter is dyslexic and I find teaching her especially hard. She was already really behind but I fear she will have fallen even further behind without the specific help she needs. I have had no additional help from the school at all. The school has provided weekly lesson plans across English and Maths (so 5 lessons a week for each subject for each child which is 20 lessons for me to teach a week) and then every half term there is a set of 'topic' homework which is lots of different subjects including Science, Geography, art, PE etc. that we can work through at our own pace! I have roughly 20 PDF files to download every week, make sense of and then teach. We had a single telephone call from a teacher mid way through but my daughter refused to speak to him. In week 15 they actually made some of their own teaching videos and did a weekly zoom lesson both of which were enormously helpful. It was however frustrating that it had taken 15 weeks for them to figure out how to do this. We can send the work in via email and will always get a response back which is nice for the children but there is no proper structure or marking going on. I feel overall the teachers are doing their best but as a whole I feel extremely angry at the way education has been ignored throughout this situation and there hasn't been a clear plan. Early on in the lockdown I wrote to a teacher raising my concerns about my eldest daughter and her response was "everyone is in the same boat"! As the school year draws to a close it is shockingly apparent that this is not the case. There has been no overall plan for schools to follow and as a result there have been wildly varying approaches. Within my school some parents have been able to access private tutors and some are running mini home learning bubbles where children get together at each others houses creating even more disparity in learning. I think simple changes such as videos from their actual teachers, video calls, formal marking system and some kind of consistency across year groups (So people who have multiple children could teach the same lesson at different levels) would have made a world of difference. I find myself going into summer holidays angry, sad and deeply concerned for my children's academic future.’

 

 

  1. ‘Positive mainly as school set work.’

 

 

  1. ‘Just before lock down my son's school SENCO referred my son to community paediatric for assessment as autism spectrum disorder suspected. We are still waiting on the appointment even though my son self harmed in meltdown. We have had 1 phone call from school to see how we were before Easter holidays and nothing since. It is impossible home schooling and working from home as he can't work independently. I am now having to work from home at weekends when his dad can care for him and home school in week leaving no time for family time and no time to just do fun stuff with my child. We (son & I) both feel this has damaged our relationship as a result. I need help how to deal with his meltdowns as he can't handle frustration with work set by school. It feels like school have set thinks but just firing off hyperlinks they haven't done work for e.g. **** x 3 = ***** containing 3 consecutive numbers not in order is not a maths question to set an 8 year old!’ 

 

  1. ‘Feel like we have been forgotten about and that getting Covid can't be as bad as the home school experience or if it is it will be a relief to escape having to home school it has been so bad!’

 

 

  1. The school, at every point has taken the opportunity to do the least possible to help. After key workers being publicly offered home schooling over half term, each family was individually asked if they really really needed it as 'the teachers needed a rest'. Obviously, the other key workers could get by without! Then when the last key worker family remained, they were told there would be no support as no one else needed the service.’

 

 

  1. ‘During the whole period there has been NO unprompted communication from teachers to children/parents Not a single email or phone call to ask how there are doing or to check their work. Through the very busy teachers magically become less busy when they need to earn from their private tuition work which continues unabated. Daily school work consists entirely of content copied form the internet. When sending work in to the school, there is never anything more than a cursory ' well done, very good. NO marking, checking of any if the children's work has been done for 12 weeks. Even now with years R,1, and 6 in school, the classes are often run by classroom assistants,
  2. with the teachers being absent. At no point has the school asked how the parents are finding their 'service' or how they might try and improve. I can guess why. An utterly appalling example to the children and to everyone else. Appling!!!’

 

 

  1. ‘We have been v lucky that the school my girls go to have provided full, online zoom lessons right the way through lockdown.
  2. However, especially for my daughter in Year 10, whilst they have been brilliant, they are no substitute for proper class room lessons.
  3. I am really worried that if they don’t go back in September, it will start to have an enormous impact on the mental wellbeing of both my daughters plus cause significant impact to their future life and work prospects.’

 

 

  1. ‘I have found the entire lock down and home school experience overwhelming.  I am racked with guild all the time; trying to manage full time jobs with what essentially should be fully time schooling. Our son's emotions are all over the place; happy, scared, angry, defiant! And at the beginning of the lock down all you saw on the news / media in general was what people were going to do with " all their spare time". What spare time? It has seemed that working parents (and not just single working parents!) plight has been completely dismissed.  The approach, or lack of, taken by schools is a shambles and completely school driven. No two schools have a common approach to parental support. A clear, unified, approach set at the beginning and communicated to schools and parents would have helped greatly; allowing us all to know what to expect. The same for employers; some ignore the fact that people have children completely, some are more supportive, understanding and treat their working parents with respect and trust. Come September I would hope that a coherent, one process for all schools, will have been developed and rolled out across the country.  And hope that children's and parents wellbeing (not just academics) are at the forefront of any plan. Well done for setting this survey up.’

 

 

  1. ‘This has been horrendously difficult. I’m a Finance Director for a medium sized company. Therefore especially during these difficult times, I cannot simply neglect my job. Other people’s jobs, livelihoods and families are depending on me to get things right and help the business to survive. My children’s father and I are recently separated but he is trying to run his own business too. I end up trying to help my children as much as I can during the day, but sometimes this isn’t possible as I have urgent deadlines to sort funding, payroll, furlough (of which no one had any clue about). When I have been able to help them during the day, I end up working in the evening. On a short term basis this is viable but now on a longer term basis, I’m exhausted and worried about my ability to do my job properly. My son was initially motivated to do his full days work but now he slacks off at every opportunity, unless I’m focussing his attention. The work provided by the school in google classrooms was originally reasonable but now it is less with one teacher covering both classes. The other teacher is now required to cover children from other year groups now attending school. The submitted work is now not being marked as there’s too many children to cope with. What’s the point of doing it then? Who’s checking if my son is doing the right thing.....I’m not, I don’t have time and I’m not always equipped with sufficient knowledge on the topic.’

 

 

  1. ‘I just feel we have been the forgotten masses tbh. Everyone has their own issues and problems to face but the home schooling debacle was mine. It feels that every other sector stepped up but the schooling of a nations children and the effect on their parents was widely ignored or downplayed by the Government, the schools and the teaching unions.’ 

 

  1. ‘Both my wife and I run our own business supporting the pharmaceutical sector including direct involvement with covid-19 related clinical trials. We technically could have argued key worker status but didn’t trying to do the right thing. We split our days as best we can to support our year 2 child but it’s been incredibly difficult and stressful and I have no idea how much our child’s wellbeing and our own have suffered. She is an only child so we have both had to assume the roles of parent, teacher and friend which is impossible in all reality. We have received no personal follow up from the school, no online learning, no class interaction (other than that we arranged) and were falsely lead to believe there would be some end of it before term ended. I have no confidence they will return in September and it seems everytime the government suggest something the unions oppose it without offering a solution. When every other sector stepped up during the crisis I think the education system at all levels should hang its head in shame.’

 

 

 

  1. ‘It has been incredibly challenging to say the least. I've been juggling home school for my 5 year old alongside mine and my husbands full time jobs from home. It is utterly unrealistic to have put this on to parents and expect them to be able to home educate, work, and be able to look after the home and in my case another younger child who was out of nursery. It has led me to clinical depression and I've broken down in front of the children and had panic attacks. I fear losing my job the longer this goes on for. My child is now offered 2 days a week only in reception which has helped her and my wellbeing, however it is not enough. Children need to be children, they need to be taught by teachers and to be with their peers. We've received PDF worksheets with activities on and had 3 phone calls during lockdown from her form teacher. No online lessons at all. I asked the Head about the 2 days and whether this could end up being more and was given very short shrift that I ought to be grateful that my child is one of the 'privileged few' who is back at school. I've done my best to muddle through and provide my daughter with an education of sorts but to care for her wellbeing as well and protect her from the worry of Covid. However the mental toll this has taken on me I cannot put into words.  Without full time school in September I know I will have to give up work, I cannot ask my parents for help and there is no breakfast club or after school club so my whole support network has vanished. This is on me and I feel that acutely’

 

 

  1. ‘Awful, tears, tantrums, arguments. I don’t know how to teach, if he gets it wrong do I show him the right answer or leave it to be marked? He doesn’t get it so often and I can’t comprehend why not. Every little thing is a distraction, the dog, my work, the postman etc. I must say sit up and focus a dozen times a day. It causes arguments between my husband and I too over how to teach him, his attention and the general stress. The isolation has made him so depressed. He’s had nightmares and his sleep is so disrupted. We’ve booked him in for a dyslexia assessment as he is struggling so much with his English. It just can’t be right how difficult it all appears to him. 
  2. We’ve had enough of lockdown, the community spirit is fading and nobody smiles or talks anymore.’

 

 

  1. ‘The schools were the last to close because A) Virus transmission was lower than other places
  2. B) Education was valued as important. So why is it ok they're the last to open?
  3. Every other sector is changing its business model -  schools need a system change with a central plan (could be adapted by individual schools). 
  4. Why do we need to be wedded to the model of 5 days per week with 13 weeks of holiday all programmed at roughly the same time? We could pace school terms and times better for families and teachers.  It's a time for opportunity and a new enlightenment for the way our children can learn and education is structured.’

 

  1. ‘Some of the online stuff is amazing and better than school but no live interaction with staff or peers is desolate, sad and detrimental. Hats off to the BBC rising to the challenge. 
  2. Most resources are very middle class and require a certain amount of equipment, mindset and agility to access.  For me it has all had pros and cons (at extreme ends) but what it isn't is sustainable in the longer term. And it is creating even greater inequality. have both primary and secondary children.’

 

 

 

  1. ‘We’re both working parents with two kids aged 10 and 12.  We’re lucky that we can both work from home during this lockdown period, but are utterly and spectacularly aghast at both the primary and secondary schools’ inability to teach our kids.  Both kids have had homework set, either weekly or daily, and we have been doing our best to keep on top of it.  What we’re utterly incapable of understanding is why the schools have refused to do any online learning.  Since schools closed, our 10 year old has had one 5 minute phone call from the teacher, and that was at our request.  Our 12 year old has had weekly 30-minute Zoom calls with his tutor, but not much else. Instead of getting wrapped around social distancing measures etc, schools could quite easily have transferred their lessons online (like many private schools, which have done just that). They have the tech, but not the will.  Why? Teachers say they’re rushed off their feet, but it’s certainly not because they’re busy teaching.  Please help give us a voice, the teaching profession has a lot to answer for!!!’

 

 

  1. ‘School work pretty good but impossible to implement and do my own job with a 5,10 and 13 year old.’

 

 

  1. ‘My reception child has completed all work set no problem. She is more accepting of being at home and although upset about not seeing her friends, she has taken it on the chin. She is more used to being at home than her older sibling.’

 

 

  1. ‘My year 3 child has being really upset everyday. He gets 'a'grades for effort at school. However he is very reluctant to work at home and won't do anything for mum and dad. He is deflated, lacking confidence and is like a different child. He is so upset about not being in the school environment. I am a teacher and he still won't work for me. His confidence and mental health has really suffered.’

 

 

  1. ‘My daughter is diligent and works hard so online classes worked for her to an extent. She is conscientious so turned up to every class and worked on her offline work. I felt the lack of face to face teaching, no rules for camera to be on, meant she was less engaged than she should be and teachers struggled to get feedback from the students. Many of whom may have logged on but not been properly present. Again, make sure she was up, dressed and at a tidy desk was my only involvement in this.’

 

 

 

  1. ‘My son found it hard to engage in online classes, not just because his GCSEs were cancelled, after lockdown. He recognises that he learns best in a collaborative, communal lesson with instant feedback. The motivation to engage comes from inspiring teachers who encourage. He found it difficult to embrace the multitude of online sessions available. I’m lucky I didn’t/couldn’t help him other than ensure he was up, dressed and at a tidy desk!’

 

 

  1. ‘Myself and my husband are both working full time in finance roles which have become increasingly busy over the lockdown as both our companies require more information as to cashflow and severance planning. We have 2 children in primary school one of which has fared better at home schooling as is in year 3 and more independent and able to undertake the school work online. My other child in year one, and summer born, cannot concentrate very well and we have struggled to cope with much schooling at all. The guilt is immense, as he was already struggling with handwriting and English, and it has stretched our patience and the environment at home has been stressful, with a lot of shouting and tears between parents and children, husband and wife. Once the younger child was able to return to school in mid June the home environment has once again become more harmonious. Said child is also now happier as he has the structure to his day, learning at school but also the opportunity to play at a distance with his bubble class mates. We care so much about his education and it was heart breaking not being able to educate him very well - he really needs the discipline of the school environment to be able to sit down and do work. We have tried to continue reading to and with him but I am concerned about the impact of the shouting and stress (attempting to encourage homeschooling) on his own confidence and therefore his future self-esteem which is so important to his happiness.’

 

 

  1. ‘My wife and I both work full time and have a 2, 3 and 9 year old.
  2. The 9 year old's school took nearly a month to get structured online learning organised and in the entire period her teacher has arranged just 4 zoom calls with the class and is limiting herself to marking one piece of work a week as she is "too busy teaching her own children".
  3. The teacher has refused to send her children to school despite being a key worker as she is claiming she is at risk, as she has type 2 diabetes. This does not put a person formally in the at risk group. Rather than admonish this teacher for withholding labour, the head is entirely supportive.
  4. As a result, my child's education has been severely impacted as has that of the other children in her class.  The shift to online has been painfully slow and has ignored the government's online resources. In addition, teachers seem to have taken this as an opportunity for time off and for those of us who have been working full time, seeing our school claim that they are even more busy than normal is insulting. The breadth of coursework has taken a noticeable dip, follow up work is non existent and use of technology to actually support home learning entirely absent. In addition, the school seems to have taken it upon themselves to divert teaching efforts and resources towards pushing a political agenda with regards to critical race theory that is not politically neutral, as is required of them under law.
  5. This is a state school and we are broadly supportive of the state system, however this experience is making us question this stance and contrasted with friends in the private sector, it's clear that union and political activist pressure in the state system is having tragic impacts on the education of children.’

 

  1. ‘There has been work set, but the only thing my daughter was really able to do was Doodle Maths/English/spellings. The teacher gave them a little bit of feedback via the app. The teacher called us a couple of times. I had to work the whole time as usual (NHS community doctor) and really couldn't help a huge amount.’

 

  1. ‘Both of my children have been in full time ‘school’ since lock down began but neither have been getting any real education. My husband and I both work for the NHS and have continued to do so throughout lockdown. Home schooling hasn’t been a real option for us as both children are at school 6 hours a day and we are juggling shifts to accommodate pick up and drop off due to a lack of wrap-around care. We have maintained the level of ‘homework’ we did pre-lockdown with them. My eldest is in Y5 and due to do his 11 plus in September, the council are insisting this will go –ahead as normal, which is adding to our stress. Both children are bright and we working a greater depth in English and Maths pre-lockdown. I am concerned that the lack of home schooling will be detrimental to both of them and particularly my eldest and it may impact on his 11 plus chances. Schools must open full time for all pupils in September, as not all parents have the luxury to home school. education is not an option but a right for our children.’

 

  1. ‘I've been so disappointed by my secondary school, which up to this year I would have said was a great school. 
  2. My son is in Y8 and for the last 5 weeks he has had ONE 30 minute Microsoft Teams English Lesson per week but that is all for actual interactive learning in all of these months. Prior to that there has only been work set on Show My Homework. 
  3. We have had ONE phone call - this was from an Assistant Head who admitted he did not know my son! I have no understanding of why his Form Tutor OR another teacher who knows him could not have phoned him once a week, or even once a fortnight, to try and keep him motivated.
  4. He has done his best but honestly it's been poor. All of us who have been at work during lockdown have had to adapt quickly and offer the best we can in the circumstances. I think the schools need much clearer guidance on the absolute minimum that they MUST offer if we go into lockdown again’

 

 

 

  1. ‘In beginning work plans sent home seemed ok but took time to read it all through before starting with my son.  He didn't want to do work at home but understood he should try.  He did try hard.  By week 4 I had highlighted to school we felt let down, there was no workable online platform to submit work, no spelling platform, no phonecalls, no requirement to return or have any work marked, just this weekly plan by email.
  2. The plan has maths, english, reading activity and RE most weeks.  3/4 science activities if we wanted to.  1 feedback task per week & 1 sharing task (both optional).  
  3. Stress levels in the house exploded every day over English we didn't understand as parents (the terminology for alot of grammar; adverbials, sub clauses etc ) as they just weren't in use when we were at school.
  4. My son was in tears, throwing chairs & running out of the house on 2 occasions, the atmosphere was just too much for us all.
  5. As parents we felt he ought to do it, he'd go behind if he didn't,  but if it happened again I'd try to be less worried and give him less to do.
  6. After Whitsun the school arranged phone calls.  Too little too late.  Stopped the feedback task cos all the teachers were needed to teach the smaller year groups in school.  There was no new technology to use, no dojo or Google classroom for instance.  Still the same weekly plan: white rose maths, bbc bitesize.
  7. We were so disappointed we again wrote to school.  Asking among other things that a online platform must be available for 2021 in case this all happens again!! The head called us & explained in a trust decisions aren't her own, she apologised for lack of contact.
  8.                     In last 2 weeks (June) we have had one face to face meeting for my son to attend & 1 phone call from his new teacher, & a new feedback email for work which is read & replied to by a teacher.  In those 2 weeks my son has had his demeanor change from constantly frustrated to looking forward to going back.  I just wish these measures had been in place from the beginning!! 
  9.                     Any reopening needs to ensure every school has the ability to use technology to set, submit and mark work. Plus ability to contact teachers.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I was lucky I work part time & my husband was furloughed. We had time to sit with my son.  However it didn't make the task easier & we all suffered.  The atmosphere in our house was not happy whenever we tried to do the school work.’
  2.                     ‘The main issue has been the lack of engagement between the school and the pupil. 
  3.                     The focus has been on yr10 and yr12 due to upcoming exams. The rest of the years have been left to flounder,  especially yr 7 to 9.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Yes, we have online lessons but it’s ‘death by PowerPoint’ twice a day. Homework is almost none existent, with some not even required to be uploaded, to be handed in on return to school - is that really going to happen? 

 

 

  1.                     ‘We are a family of 4, 2 parents that work full time, a 13 year old and an 11 year old. 
  2.                     It’s been bloody hard work and has cause a lot of mental anguish. That we are still struggling with - to the point where we are now paying for extra lessons to bring them both up to speed - I’m just grateful that we can afford to do that.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have one child who is in year 7 at a private senior school (and one who is in year 5 at a state primary school). Both my husband and I work and have not been furloughed. The whole experience has been completely demoralising and has made us seriously concerned for our children's mental and physical well-being. Our frustration at the opening of pubs and shops but not anything which is meaningful for children (schools, swimming pools) has been immense. The senior school my child attends has (despite parent feedback) maintained exactly the same timetable which the children would have had they been at school (including for example, double lessons) but online, with the result that our child has spent from approximately 9 am to 4 pm each day sat at a desk in front of an ipad. Weeks of this has unsurprisingly left her depressed and bored - no adult would be asked to tolerate this. The only change which was made was to furlough all the sports staff and leave the children (that is, their parents) to fill the sports sessions, suggesting that if there was a difficulty with this there are plenty of (oh yes, yet more) online resources. Without the oversight of a teacher engaging them in an exercise class, of course most of them did absolutely nothing at all. We have had no information at all from the school about how they plan to manage the return in September (bar ridiculous emails assuming all is the same, asking for transport plans and informing about which maths set they'll be in) nor do we have any confidence that the government will offer helpful guidance. Working parents and more importantly, children, have been completely ignored by all who ought to be concerned for them. So angry.’

 

  1.                     ‘Both my husband and I have continued to work from home throughout the whole pandemic. We live a considerable distance from any immediate family.Our child is in reception
  2.                     My employers have been very understanding and have allowed me to adjust my working hours to fit round a family schedule we have created to enable both of us to work whilst caring and homeschooling our child. This means I can focus on the activity in hand it does mean my days are extremely long as I have to work 5 hours a day Monday to Friday. The schedule for work is is 7-9am, 2-3pm and 7-9pm.
  3.                     At the end of the day we then have to prepare for the next day, food, activities, clean the house etc. The routine is relentless we are both exhausted and have no time for ourselves.
  4.                     We feel fortunate we both are still employed, have a generally happy household and that our child is still engaged with learning. We do think the later is due to the energy we have both put into preparing, expanding on activities from school, for learning and development but that has come at a cost to our wellbeing.’ 

 

 

  1.                     ‘We are counting the weeks to September...and have everything crossed for it to be safe enough for the children to return to school’

 

  1.                     ‘It has been truly challenging. I have a 5, a 7 and a 10 year old child. Luckily only my husband works in our family so i could focus on home schooling and household. To homeschool the three of them was very tolling. I had to cook for them and feed them, keep the house together, constantly struggle against the continuous stream of mess, make sure they exercise in fresh air every day. I decided not to use the online materials the school sent as it would take me hours to read through the suggestions and print them, also because i did not want my children to spend their days in front of screens. Instead, i ordered the CGP book series for them covering Maths and English so they could advance from chapter to chapter day by day in an structured and transparent manner. We mainly did it together or i only checked their work after- which also took 1-2 hours, especially if something was wrong and i had to explain the subject to them. It was mentally and emotionally draining, by the end of the day i could hardly speak. I hardly managed as it is, i think to expect families where both parents work (or with single parents) to home school is an absurd, cynical, impossible expectation, putting people in helpless situation with enormous responsibility. Kids from those families will obviously be much behind in their studies, leaving them unfairly in vulnerable, unfavourable state. Which logically will have its toll on their mental health, which will undoubtedly have its impact on society as a whole. Politicians must very carefully tackle this challenge and avoid just pushing this huge responsibility on the parents, as "someone else's problem".’

 

 

  1.                     ‘School has tried but assumes we understand the lesson plan and jargon. Pleas for video lessons have fallen on deaf ears. Lack of understanding that we have salary paying jobs we need to protect, and dynamics at home mean days are spent unhappy, arguing and detrimental to everyones mental health. Little things like "spellings ending -ils". Just give us the words. We don’t have time to go through all 100 words’.

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have one child who is in year 5 at a state primary school (and one who is in year 7 at a private senior school). Both my husband and I work and have not been furloughed. The whole experience has been completely demoralising and has made us seriously concerned for our children's mental and physical well-being. Our frustration at the opening of pubs and shops but not anything which is meaningful for children (schools, swimming pools) has been immense. With the state school child (who has impaired hearing and consequent attention issues) we have simply been sent packs of work, sometimes at the start of the week, sometimes a couple of days into the week (never in advance, to enable us to read it over the weekend). One individual teacher has tried hard, recording video messages to generate interest, but otherwise the attempts at engagement by the school have been clumsy, driven by a 'must follow all rules however ridiculous and damaging to children's happiness' culture and frankly embarrassing. We have ended up having very brief sessions throughout the day, focusing on things as basic as times tables, interspersed with activity and 'breaks', all of which one of us has to supervise, which is incredibly time-consuming but the only bearable way to manage the day. Given what we now see of the expected curriculum, our expectation is that he will (at best) be at least a year, if not more, behind year 5 level when he goes into year 6. We have no idea how the school plans to manage the return to school, the academic expectations or plan for his final year of primary school and we have no confidence that the government will offer schools any useful guidelines to enable parents to understand what is happening. We have no concerns about him returning to school or mixing with other children at all, beyond the psychological harm which we think may well result from well-meaning but misguided rigid adherence to safety guidelines which prevent children from having some sort of normal interaction with at least some of their friends.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I work full time with two children - one in yr 4 and one in yr 7. My husband is a hospital consultant so I am the only parent who can home school. My work has been brilliant and very flexible - but it means I work from 7am to 6pm so I can take breaks to home school. However I am not a teacher and I know I am doing a dreadful job of it much of the time, despite my best efforts. I end up shouting a lot which is having a detrimental effect on our relationship. My child in year 4 needs quite a lot of support and input so how much work she can do depends on my availability. My biggest concern is for my child in year 7 who is struggling to keep new friendships going and I am watching his social contacts dwindle. I have to cajole and encourage him to speak to his friends as his confidence plummets. I am watching my happy, well balanced and high achieving child become socially anxious with mood swings and stomach aches. If he is not back in school in September I am very concerned about the impact on his mental health. I am doing my best to help him see friends as lockdown eases but it is no substitute for school. He asked me how come it is safe for people to go to the pub but not for him to go to school. I have no response - the decision is inexplicable to me.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘The school has been pretty good at setting work. They have been provided with a full timetable of 5 hours a day covering all subjects which they have completed. As lockdown progressed there have been some live lessons (appreciated but our children often just want to get the work done in their own time). There has been some variability in quality but the children feel they have covered much the same material as they would have in school. Feedback on work has been quite limited (just a grade and a sentence), teachers don't seem to have adopted technical solutions to applying the marking scheme they would use in school. It doesn't feel like they will be behind where they would have been in school and their ability to plan and organise has developed considerably. 
  2.                     There has been very little communication from the school outside of setting work and limited feedback but perhaps there would have been more if they weren't keeping up with the work. 
  3.                     Our children (year 7 and 8) have absolutely thrived working at home (we have also been workng from home.) The illusion of school being the best place to learn has been shattered for them. They have found it much more efficient to work at home without disruptions at at their own pace with resources that sometimes explain work better than they think their teacher would. Their independent working and technology skills have developed immensely. We wish blended learning could be a permanent option.‘

 

 

  1.                     ‘They do miss seeing their friends (though they can keep in touch and work together remotely), a return to school where they are separated from their friends due to bubbles would be the worst situation for them.  We've had no communication about plans for September.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘When lockdown started my kids were 3 and 8 (now 4 and 9). By the end of March both were at home. I have a high-pressure full time job and my husband is a student. He had to revise and take exams whilst the kids were running wild and I had to work - he failed one because of this.  We have only been able to support our older child's learning (he has ADHD) so the little one has been largely ignored. My workload tripled in response the COVID problems - one night I worked until 3 am then went to bed for 3 hours only to start again at 7am, this was after several nights of working. There have been many fights and tears over doing the school work, but because our older child struggles a lot at school we have tried to keep him on track otherwise our fear is that he will drop behind like he did in Yr 2 and that he'll have a subsequent loss of self esteem and confidence. The little one has gone back to nursery but only for a few hours a week when he used to do 4 full days. I think our kids have largely done ok through this but I have now been referred by my GP to talking therapy as I am starting to crumble under the pressure and stress of holding down a job, a family, a home, bills etc etc. I have taken on the burden of almost everything in our home mainly so the kids are ok, and so they don't get impacted negatively but the toll it has taken on me is huge.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Working from home and So called ‘home schooling’ is becoming impossible. It might have been looked on a a novelty at the beginning but has turned into a nightmare. Children are becoming undisciplined, it’s not the parents fault when they are working from home. Could teachers manage two jobs? I would be very surprised if teachers are in their homes ‘working’ 9-5 which they should be as they are getting fill pay. They are not furloughed! I’ve heard comments from some quarters saying teachers don’t feel safe. Give them all PPE  then -problem solved.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘In one word stressful and exhausting as both my husband and I are in full time jobs and had to work throughout as well as homeschooling one child whilst also attending to the needs of his under 3 y old brother!’

 

  1.                     School did the best to support us but more direct contact / feedback would have been good .
  2.                     I have 3 under 8 years old. Teachers did a great job setting lots of work and timetables but in reality we managed a fraction of that work and it created huge tensions and stress for all.
  3.                     After completing even a small amount everyone was exhausted as they watched a lot of tv! 
  4.                     Their mental wellness deteriorated, there was much acting out.
  5.                     Having started the holidays already we are  focusing on less tv, no set work, encouraging reading and other creative activities. 
  6.                     If I can practise their maths or writing during a game then I try to but otherwise no pressure.
  7.                     If I think about the set work we haven’t done I feel stressed but I believe if I get them to September in a healthy & happy frame of mind this is more valuable. 
  8.                     It’s already a lot better at home.
  9.                     For the first 3 or 4 weeks, brilliant. Enthusiasm and novelty all round.’ 

 

  1.                     ‘Week 14. We are still doing ‘good things’, but the pressure of both parents working and schooling and being a ‘parent’ too is crippling us.’

 

  1.                     ‘So much was done with the Nightingale Hospitals to create new space and facility to deal with the sick, yet we still have HTs saying there’s no way they can school our children. In our day jobs we have had to seek flexibility, share time and space, sacrifice our intentions and ambitions for work, rest, parenting and each other. Have school Heads looked at alternative spaces?  Have they looked at flexible timetabling?   Have they looked at compromising some things? Have they considered outdoor spaces?  No evidence.  I think it’s time schools and Govt and business and community spaces got themselves in gear and worked to solve this rather than stay in stalemate.’

 

  1.                     ‘Well, my problem is rather the struggle of making three monkeys do school jobs at home, I gave up long ago... I am a supply teacher, can't work, not furloughed, we don't count as key workers... I am a primary teacher and had huge struggles and arguments, tantrums over school work, can't even imagine, how families with no teaching experience manage... Blended learning the same. It just doesn't work without the school environment. Children need it to learn and they need the home to be monkeys. Back to school is what I support, for everyone's sake: families, teachers, TAs, economy... There's too much lost already. 
  2.                     I also advocate for these children to resit their current year - especially in early years they have missed a lot. 
  3.                     If schools stay closed or open limited, nothing else will work properly.’
  4.                     ‘I have been working full time at home a  Marketing Manager from the beginning of lockdown. I am separated and have three sons aged 8, 14 and 19. My 19 year old returned from his first year at uni in March. So all three have been at home. I think the reality is that I've been very focused on my work, and, if I'm honest, my children have had to deal with a lot of their school work alone. For my 19 year old, that's no issue. And while my 14 year old is fairly competent, he is not that driven unless he's being coached and mentored. I have relied heavily on him telling me what he's got to do each day and whether he'd done it. Sometimes he has, sometimes he hasn't and I've received an email from the relevant teacher. In the main, considering he has been learning virtually independently I have nothing but praise for him. For my 8 year old, it has been tough. He sits every morning at the kitchen table with me and we go through what he has to do. Often, he has to ask questions or requires help. I have to give my older sons a lot of credit for helping me out with him. One of them helped him build a Viking long boat in the garden! We have only done the work that is required though. Anything optional we have ignored because I just don't have the time. One project we collectively agreed we would also ignore...to create a stop motion film of the entire play of A Mid Summer Night's Dream. After much discussion, my 19 year old reminded me how long it would take him back in the day to create the shortest stop motion film with his lego.  I decided to tell the teacher we hadn't seen the task should she ask. She never did...thankfully. 

 

  1.                     ‘If I had to do this again, I obviously would. It's definitely not been a negative experience for any of us. My boys are happy and that's been my main concern for the entire lockdown. There have obviously been huge benefits attached to having so much time with my children. It's time I wouldn't have had and won't get back. We have gone on more dog walks than ever before and had some of the funniest and most enjoyable conversations. I do not miss rushing around in the morning struggling to get myself and my two youngest ready for school/breakfast club/work. But they have missed their friends very much. My youngest loves school and I had completely underestimated how much he had missed it until he was invited in next week for an afternoon to meet his new Year 4 teacher. He simply cannot wait. And my eldest has missed out on what should have been an amazing first year at uni. None of which I can really compensate for. Whatever happens next in terms of plans in place for another lockdown needs to consider parents who aren't "key workers" but who are, nevertheless, helping to keep the economy going by working from home.’

 

  1.                     ‘Year 2 child: challenging.  School let us down by having no live interaction with children (no calls, no online events).  As the school is a bilingual state school, the children have two teachers (one for each language).  One teacher sent interesting, stimulating instructions each week, reasonable volume of work, prompt, encouraging feedback, sympathetic and ready to offer support to parents.  She also sent learning objectives (bronze, silver, gold) so parents and children could see what they were aiming for. The second teacher prepared an extremely complex website of dull, unthemed exercises, told us it was compulsory to complete everything and send copies to her, but provided no feedback and ignored emails requesting support.

 

  1.                     We have an older child at private prep school whose experience of homeschooling has been streets ahead in every respect.  The school maintains regular hours, regular stimulating lessons, online contact.  They have finished the term ahead in their curricula.  The difference between the private and the state school is largely one of organisation, not of deploying more resources.  It shows what state schools ought to be able to do, with better guidance for teachers who of course are acquiring a wholly new set of skills.

 

  1.                     From these very different experiences we know first-hand how vital it is not to overwhelm children (or parents); to provide some sort of live interaction with the teacher; for teachers to provide prompt feedback; for teachers to find ways to keep learning fun and stimulating; and for teachers to guide parents on learning objectives so parents know what the aims are.  All teachers should be guided on these basics and monitored by the school.

 

  1.                     HOME LIFE: extremely challenging to juggle work and homeschooling.  At age 6/7, our child needs an adult with her to focus on schoolwork.  Greatest concern is for our child's mental health: 6 months at home with little interaction with other children is damaging her motivation, self-esteem, enjoyment of life.  Not to mention her fitness.  She exhibits regressive behaviours (tantrums, rows etc).  Our family relationships are strained as parents are the only ones to give her guidance, instructions, be strict when needed; yet are almost the only people she can go to for fun, stimulation, comfort etc.  This is not healthy.  

 

  1.                     SHOCKING DERELICTION of Governmental responsibility: We find it sickening that people can now congregate socially yet children are not back at school. There is no reason for this. Also that most summer holiday clubs are not running as government guidance was issued too late.   Forcing 6 months at home is a shocking dereliction of the Government's responsibility for the education and well-being of our young people.  We need only compare with our European neighbours, with children all back at school, to see how poorly our education system is performing.

 

  1.                     ‘It has been a very positive time where I have seen both of my children flourish.  My school has set clear expectations and a clear timetable and it has been easy to follow.  When we have achieved what we need to in a day I supplement that with lessons or activities from elsewhere.  We have achieved a full curriculum for both my Year 1 and Year 3 children.’

 

  1.                     ‘Teachers were excellent, went over and above what anyone could expect
  2.                     Great range of activities provide by school on google classroom but 9 year old daughter missing teacher and her friends and working with peers. She is very emotional and gets frustrated. 7 year old losing motivation after so long. I have been furloughed so sit with the children all day doing homeschool but I don’t want to be their teacher I want to be mummy and enjoy the time with them and make home ‘fun’. I find it extremely tiring and emotional.’

 

  1.                     ‘As a single parent and  full time employee working from home whilst home schooling,  the entire experience has been mentally exhausting and stressful.  On the one hand youre  expected to fulfil your work demands and being told to work more hours to meet your growing workload with no consideration that we are effectively also educators too.  I carry the worry that im not doing enough to educate my children and they could be falling behind.  There has been no support for people in my situation.’

 

  1.                     ‘Overall I'm not happy with the provision of the school.  The school put a lot of effort into pre-recorded videos where young kids are expected to engage with a figure 2" high on their screen and do some work as a result.  The videos themselves were very unengaging. My son (yr2)  as a result has done practically no school work set.‘On 1st june his teacher finally got in touch and started calling him daily to try to engage him, but she wasn't great at it, and just gave loads of platitudes and compliments for the amount of minecraft he was playing, which is NOT what we expected.  

 

  1.                     ‘I think children needed MUCH more engagement to continue their learning.  The school should have done SO much more to keep children engaged, such as weekly live videos to set students up for the week, and even daily videos to make them feel part of the school learning community and by not doing so they've lost credibility in my view. ‘ 

 

  1.                     ‘In the last 2 weeks, they have started using Zoom - a friday afternoon call to chat with their school friends and discuss the weekend.  It's nice, but it's not educational, and not used for engaging the kids in learning.  Too little too late in my view.’

 

  1.                     ‘We have one son in year 2 who has been given weekly assignments in English, Maths and Topic on google classroom. He is incapable of working independently so I sit with him and guide him through assignments on the days when I'm not working from home. Our other son is in Reception and is back in school 2 days a week. Virtually all of my focus is on my elder son as Reception have provided so little material/ assignments for our youngest. We read a book with him every day but it is impossible to do any homeschooling when I'm wfh and I fear our youngest is falling behind. Our relationship with both children has suffered as completing schoolwork at home is a battle and source of stress.
  2.                     I have a year 11, GCSEs pulled, no one will ever convince me that the exams could not have been run, they could have sat them, spread out throughout the schools and invigilated by teachers who were not baby sitting the children of key workers. The cancellation was a knee jerk reaction. That year 11 has been doing some bridging work, but will he be able to start his A levels in September? It will be absolutely disgusting if he can’t.’

 

  1.                     ‘My year 8 has been working diligently throughout and has been set work each day, but this can never and will never be acceptable as an even medium term solution.I have sent emails to Robert Halfon MP (thank god he chairs the education select committee) he is on our side, the Childrens Commissioner, the PM and my MP. This was when the school issue was being ignored.’

 

  1.                     As far as I can tell, it is the unions, who throughout this shambles, have been obstructive and have refused to engage. It is a flexing of their wasted muscles. I wonder how
  2.                     many union officials are back in the pubs, eating out and visiting non-essential shops, whilst trying to persuade people that schools are dangerous places! 

 

  1.                     We are very lucky, we have a device each and although it’s a small house, we have a good enough table that we share, to get the work done, but, having two teenagers who are so restricted, is not easy and I am sure that neither of them will ever be certain of anything ever again.

 

  1.                     Our school is s positive, proactive place, full of determined and dedicated staff, some of whom have been there since it was described as failing. They have worked incredibly hard to turn its fortunes around and every year, it gets better. These people now need to be allowed to get on with their jobs, and then the rest of us can get on with ours and perhaps our children, who will be paying for this mess for all their working lives I suspect, can continue with what is a basic human right, their education.

 

  1.                     I hate to say it, but what we need is a bit more of the attitude that the Iron Lady had during the 1980s, to get the schools back safely and if the unions won’t engage, bypass them.
  2.                     Homeschooling has been impossible for us. I have a 9 year old and a 7 year old (6 when lockdown started). Year 2 and 4 haven’t gone back and so they will have missed 6 months of school. It is impossible to create the learning environment that our kids would have had at school. The school have sent through worksheets every day, but the children have become increasingly lethargic and found it difficult to learn. They have missed the friendships, structure, exercise and playtime of school and their learning (despite our best efforts) has gone backwards. My younger child was at the start of an SEN assessment before lockdown and the school had been supporting us with this. During lockdown we have not been able to access the support we would have had or continue the assessment. My child has bencome increasingly anxious and distressed which has led to his saying “he has forgotten all learning” and refusal to do any of the work. Homeschooling has strained our family relationships, decreased our kids ability to learn and reduced our income as we try and juggle work, full time parenting and teaching. The children need to be back in school in September. Ideally some sort of holiday clubs/learning support should be provided too.
  3.                     I have four children; three girls at senior school (Years 7, 9 and 11) and a boy in Year 2.

 

  1.                     The girls' school has continued with online lesson provision which, in principle, was very comprehensive. However, the reality has been that my girls have been on laptops from 8.30am to 4pm every day which I felt was very unhealthy. There have been chunks of time that would ordinarily have been PE or Games lessons as well as subjects that do not lend themselves well to online schooling, such as food tech, PSHE and Art, for example, with the result that for around one-third of the time the girls would end up distracted by other online websites. Trying to track what all three were up to while home-schooling the youngest proved very difficult. 

 

  1.                     I feel that they have had a largely unproductive term; the first few weeks after Easter started well but they became increasingly disengaged over time. My 12-year-old in particular, who is an extreme extrovert, has become withdrawn, (avoiding FaceTime interactions, for example, and burying herself in a gigantic hoody) and tense, irritable and angry. None of them have done any meaningful exercise during lockdown after an initial enthusiasm for running tapered off without friends to run with. 

 

  1.                     My son's school stuck rigidly to the pre-lockdown timetable which I felt was really misguided. I believe a better plan would have been to be realistic about doing a chunk of maths and English each day and aiming for not more than 2 hours of schoolwork. Consequently I quickly gave up on what they were offering (which exposed an embarrassing reliance upon resources from websites such as Twinkl and BBC bitesize and very little original work). There were no live lessons and a limited amount of recorded input, such as a teacher reading a story or a short assembly - which were of such poor quality I didn't use them. After initially sending worksheets (in completely unmanageable quantities - 40 a week at one point, with the expectation that parents would teach and work through them all with the children) the school switched on an online platform called Seesaw. I felt that my 7-year-old required far more support to use it than was practicable, essentially meaning I had to work alongside him all the time. I also positively DID NOT WANT him online at his age, especially as my girls were clearly being negatively impacted by long days on screens by this stage, so I tended to print the few resources I felt were helpful and get him to work in pencil and then upload them. This was very time-consuming. Feedback has been extremely limited and follow-up on work he didn't understand non-existent. After a few weeks of initial enthusiasm I quickly realised that our 1-to-1 teaching situation was far too intense and was exhausting both of us, as well as leading him to feel frustrated and regularly to complain that he was 'no good at' a subject. By the end of the summer term I had more or less given up and was just doing a bare minimum of maths (half an hour or so) and some reading every day. Some outdoor summer camps have opened up near us and they have been an absolute godsend - he is so much happier now that he is getting some structure, seeing other adults and most importantly, having friends to play with and having a good run around outdoors.

 

  1.                     If schools don't reopen in September I fear for the mental health not only of the children but of the parents who are trying to do their best to look after them. It is very stressful fearing that we are letting our children down, and extrovert children are suffering enormously from not seeing friends face to face. Primary school children desperately need to get back to normal play with their friends - taking a 7-year-old out to artificially 'exercise' them is absolutely no substitute for the natural workout they will get if they just play with their friends.
  2.                     Heronway school was amazing through lockdown... the head and staff went above and beyond for all the children .. and there to answer questions from parents .. plenty of support for school work google classroom was a brilliant format .

 

 

  1.                     Parent of Year 10 student.
  2.                     School has "tick-boxed' min. requirement for secondary school ie offering yr10 and 12 some contact. 
  3.                     Yr10 have had 1 x 2 hour session a WEEK, a masterclass in either English, Maths or Science.
  4.                     Other than that, work set weekly on online platform, no live sessions, no daily register, no set timetable.
  5.                     Disappointing as huge modern school which has the space to have done a lot more.
  6.                     Some teachers more proactive and have motivated my child.  Most of the rest have been sadly lacking. Amazed about the lack of IT knowhow and ability to step up to the mark as every other business has had too. 
  7.                     Private sector has meanwhile run a full timetable and the knowledge gap widens as a result.
  8.                     Education sector has not been a team player during this time, frustrated by Govt. guidelines and teaching unions.
  9.                     No social distancing for schools in Sep and a full return. 
  10.                     Shield if required but do not continue with this lockdown for schools and our children.
  11.                     Children are bored, unmotivated, meeting with friends outside school anyway. 
  12.                     Good luck!

 

 

  1.                     My child is at primary school. The teacher provides maths and English worksheets each day with an explanatory page online and/or a video. There has been a couple of geography and history projects set too, but really other subjects have fallen by the wayside. We started to use BBC Bitesize a few weeks ago to try to give our child other lessons, but morale is really low now. Our child is working on an old laptop that keeps breaking down and now the sound won't work on it. The online stuff is a nightmare when computers don't work properly.

 

  1.                     My partner and I have reduced our working hours and income to manage our two children at home with schoolwork - it has been really hard. We thought it would be for a month or so, but now it has become an untenable situation.
  2.                     Our child's teacher is lovely, but once the Reception, year 1 and year 6 children went back in this half term, the teacher has little time to worry about the "home workers", so we have felt abandoned and really fed up.

 

 

  1.                     From being a happy child who loved school, my child now says "I hate school" on a regular basis. It has been so upsetting. Online screen work (even if we print out the worksheets) is very limiting and in no way replaces teacher time. The school has not set up any video lessons or invited my child's year into school for any time this term and it seems mad that 3 year groups have gone back in, but no other year groups are allowed. Incredibly unfair and difficult to explain to a child why half their class is back at school but they are not. Our child's change in their attitude towards schooling has been heartbreaking.

 

 

  1.                     The school sends out very few emails but does keep us informed. We felt totally depressed when they announced no further years would be taken back to school this half term. We can't understand why extra spaces like village halls and the recruitment of ex-teachers and DBS checked volunteers weren't explored and utlilised to make it happen.

 

 

  1.                     I feel that if teachers weren't on full pay but were on performance-related pay, then schools would have reopened fully by now - if teachers' wages reflected how much work they have been doing in the past 4 months, they would have had the motivation to get the students back in. My respect for schools and teachers has really plummeted, when I had always held them in high regard before this.
  2.                     Our experience has been awful. So much so that we are considering our school options for next year. The school have been dreadful. Our 6 year old was sent home on the last day with a pack of 15 photocopied papers. That is it.  It took the school 2 months to set up a Facebook page where they asked parents to upload pictures of the work they were doing - which just turned in to a competition for 'best parent with the most time' and made everyone feel bad. 

 

 

  1.                     At the end of June they sent, via email, a single piece of work which was a picture of a piece of Art. The work required was 'Ask your child to describe the picture'. Our 6 year old: "Its an umbrella". Amazing! 

 

 

  1.                     When Yr 1 were due to go back we were told that the Governments advice meant that it was full time or nothing and that they could not accommodate everyone.  Despite most other schools operating a system that meant all yr1 went back across different days, our school communicated that this was not their interpretation of the guidelines and that they would only offer full time places. This has meant that half the year have gone back and half the year haven't.  The half that have not gone back have received NO support. Not even a phone call from their teacher. It is disgraceful. 

 

 

  1.                     We are both working full time and have been juggling the work/life/school balance for, what seems like, forever. We understand that this has been an unprecedented situation but we feel completely let down by our school. The few emails we have had from the Head suggest that they are incredibly busy at school and that they simply have no more time. Really???? That's even more worrying! They currently have half their normal class size and they don't have time to set work for us, call our children? When they are full how on earth do they cope! 

 

 

  1.                     Any regular contact from the school would have made a huge difference to us. We have tried to stick to reading and writing but it is hard to motivate her because she knows that her teachers don't care. Having to tell her that she can't video call her friends anymore because they have gone back to school and she hasn't was absolutely heart breaking. She's 6. She thinks she did something wrong and that's why her teachers don't want her back. 

 

 

  1.                     It has been incredibly hard, frustrating and exhausting.  We try to flex our days to cover everything but it is not unusual for us to start work around 7am and still be playing catch up past 9pm. 

 

 

  1.                     The school sent an email 2 weeks ago saying that the teachers had decided to 'give up' insert days at the end of term so that the yr1s who didn't go back can have 3 days in school. WOW. Thank you. What hero's you are.  Don't get me wrong - I have huge respect for teachers and I know that most schools and teachers have gone above and beyond to support and help, it is our school I have issues with. They are so busy - too busy to reach out or call or send anything that could be a little bit helpful and motivating - but not too busy to spend time recording videos for facebook of dance routines they have created. I would like to know what they have been doing all this time? How can I have confidence that they can cope with everyone going back to school in September when it appears that 15 children are more than a class can cope with. 

 

  1.                     Still at leas they have 6 weeks of summer to recover!
  2.                     I have two children, one in Year 3 and the other in Year 1. My husband and I have full-time jobs. Since 23 March we were given the impossible task of trying to continue to work from home and look after our children.

 

 

  1.                     We have been trying to support my daughters with their home learning. In order to do this, we have to give each child one-to-one support with their learning, we have tried to set tasks and leave them to it, but this approach doesn’t work. As a result, it is very hard to fit home learning between work and zoom meetings.

 

 

  1.                     I feel that because of our situation my daughters are missing out on their home learning education. I would love to dedicate all my time to help them learn but because I have a job, I am physically not able to do this. This particularly saddens me that my daughter, in Year 3, was doing really well at school and because we are not able to support her with her home learning, coupled with her reluctance to home learn, she will suffer the ‘covid slide’. 

 

 

  1.                     I think the schools have been put in a difficult situation.  There are disagreements with the trade unions, the government and the headteachers are in the middle of this. This isn't putting children first. Where is the Nightingale hospital for children? Why is this issue not getting the airtime? 

 

 

  1.                     I'm exhausted and I feel guilty that, through no fault of my own I can't support my daughter's  learning. Thank you for setting up this forum.  

 

 

  1.                     Year 3 child - hasn't written anything for 16 weeks. We have been doing 20 mins reading a day and a bit of mathletics the set maths work (each day). She is very reluctant to work. The teacher calls each week, I have to request a call.

 

 

  1.                     We’ve found it a real challenge trying to get school bits done at home and then to realise it’s mandatory to do school work.

 

 

  1.                     I think the biggest problem is teachers don’t want to go back to work, with some which I know complaining that they have had to work 3 consecutive days. The school where my kids go started off well, but as soon as June 1st came the workload became far to much for the teachers. So they reduced the the school week to 4 days and the work being set for my children became laughable. Also we have only had one very brief phone call from one of the teachers since the start of lockdown. I feel really peeved with the teachers attitude with to many in their profession not being prepared to do their fair share to ensure our children get a decent level of education. These are supposed to be our educators surely they could have got together and came up with a standardised online learning programme and made sure every child had access to a computer or tablet.

 

 

  1.                     My child is at secondary school. The teachers at first provided lessons to match the timetable. Most work is online, multiple choice-type questions. Worksheets, videos and audio were also provided. This was okay, but as time has gone on we have all got screen fatigue, not to mention schooling from home fatigue. Trying to keep up morale is difficult. The last half term of the summer, the school is alternating timetable lessons and an activity pack - one week on, one week off. In total, there will have been 4 weeks of activity packs this half term and 3 weeks of timetabled lessons. For an activity pack, there is a list of about 20 activities and the child is meant to choose 5 a day. This has caused many problems as our child will choose the easiest and quickest activities, understandably, while we try to get them to choose more in-depth activities. Activities include a film review, build a den, make a bug house, name the authors, yoga, put your feelings in a cloud: a lot of them require more equipment than we have at home and others seem a bit of a cop out. The school suggests BBC Bitesize if more structure is needed - we have used that as a supplement.

 

 

  1.                     We much prefer the timetabled lessons - more structure. Both myself and my partner work and we have two children, so it is a constant juggling act and we have had to reduce our working hours and income to manage the children, but we are still trying to keep our businesses going.
  2.                     The breadth of subjects on timetabled weeks is okay. The teachers have not been feeding back since May - the points system the school uses for rewards hasn't added any points for my child since then. My child has had maths feedback from a test but that was a one-off. The online quizzes give you results straight away. We aren't impressed by the lack of feedback.

 

 

  1.                     The headteacher emails every day but the emails have become more and more surreal with opinions on everything shared, whether school related or not. We get the impression that teachers are on full pay and are happy to continue with "virtual school" (virtually useless, as we call it) forever - their ideal scenario seems to be to have few students in school and still be paid fully. Whereas my partner and I have reduced our income to cope and have less time than ever as we are managing schoolwork and work.

 

 

  1.                     Our relationship with our child has stretched to breaking point. They do not respond well to us as teachers - refusal and negativity are the usual responses to requests to do the work or to go a little further with questions or activities. We are now taking the line of least resistance as term comes to a close. The schools have no excuse not to open to students full-time in September - they will have had almost 6 months to sort this out, but their emails suggest that they think "virtual school" is an okay substitute. It is not. We feel abandoned and despondent. I wish the schools were doing everything in their power to reopen fully in September, but I'm afraid that they are not.

 

 

  1.                     Until nurseries reopened, we had a 4 and 8 year old at home, so homeschooling and working full time has been impossible. Our 4 year old just watched tv as we tried to home school our 8 year old and work. The stress has been enormous on the family, our 8 year old now showing signs of depression. He also suffers from heart disease so we have isolated as best possible. Our 4 year old is going to school in sept but there are no plans on how to transition him, simply turn up in sept and off you go.  We need the school to offer online teaching via zoom or Skype to give our eldest some interaction. We only hear from the school via newsletters. So in sept my eldest will go back, depressed, confused and not prepared in any way.

 

 

  1.                     It’s been incredibly hard juggling work and school and my daughter in year 3 now does not feel motivated to do schoolwork at all. I’m working flat out at work who recently did a round of redundancies so I cautious about trying to stay on top of things and as a family we are really struggling and quite frankly my husband and I are burnt out after nearly five months of doing this and both working full time . My daughters mental health has also been affected, she is finding it a struggle without her routine, friends and school community. We also sent my younger daughter back who was in reception and there was a dramatic change when she went back to school, she was so excited to go to school and happy when she returned knowing that her home was where she could relax and play as she had learning time at school.

 

 

  1.                     Our school have gone above and beyond to support us every step of the way - BUT my children are desperate for their friends and teachers and gave up any school work several weeks ago. Every day was becoming more and more of a battle and they were getting more and more miserable. So I have put their mental health first and now just try and get them outside as much as possible. Our school did an amazing job of preparing to allow all pupils back part time before summer - which would have been invaluable in boosting spirits - but the Council pulled the plug on this at the last minute due to some very unclear Department of Education guidelines. This was a massive knock to us all at an already incredibly tough time.

 

 

  1.                     I have generally been luckier than most, as my husband and I are keyworkers and my son is in year 6. However, for the first 2 months between end of March and the beginning of June my son had the opportunity of going into school 5 days a week but the school made the decision that they wouldn't be educating the children during this time. They played and watched videos instead. My son thought this was great at first but then became really bored and frustrated, he started calling it 'cheap school'.  All the time this was happening the school was sending home tons of homeschooling, one week it was 195 pages.  We were expected to do this homeschooling in the evenings and weekends whilst my son was at school with qualified teachers (sometimes on a two teachers to one child ratio) for 6 hours a day, just playing and watching videos. We wrote many letters and emails of complaint and so did other keyworker parents, but the school refused to budge. I ended up taking annual leave for two days a week and sending him into school for three days. During those two days we did as much of the home schooling we could, around 7 hours a day to try and keep on top of it. It was exhausting for both of us and I think damaged our relationship as a result. Since June, things have changed and now the school is only open for four days a week but the teachers are following a curriculum on those days, however, they are still only accepting key worker children so there is a large group of year 6 children who are receiving no schooling whatsoever. This change has taken the pressure off our situation and the difference in the house is huge. Everyone is getting on better, my son is motivated and happier and has been sleeping better. I am really counting on the schools going back in September, trying to encourage everyone just to slip back in home schooling for future lockdowns is just not going to work.

 

 

  1.                     We have been unable to home school due to the fact we both work full-time. There is an assumption that only disadvantaged children are affected by school closures but many middle-class children with parents who work have also missed out. It is arrogant and misguided to suggest that a parent should have been able to fully home school during this time. The burden for all this has also fallen disproportionately on women.

 

 

  1.                     Both my husband and I have been working from home full time. We have found home schooling very stressful. The children's school has sent out a good variety of school work, both online activities and paper based ones but the children have struggled with motivation. The whole situation has made us all upset as various times. It makes me question whether I am a good parent because I can't simply put my children first a lot of the time, especially when I have online meetings. Our youngest, 7yrs old, is now very emotional, say's 'No' to a lot of things, doesn't want to get dressed or do his teeth in the mornings. He cries because he can't go back to school. He isn't the happy boy we used to have. I'm really worried that we won't get the happy, enthusiastic child we used to have, back. His enthusiasm to do things has gone. I'm really worried about how he is mentally.
  2.                     Our oldest, in year 6, starts secondary school in Sept. He has had 6 half days in school since March. He seems to be coping better than his brother but we are worried about the transition to secondary school. 
  3.                     The stress of trying to home school and work has been worse than I thought it would be. It has made me feel really down. We now face a summer with probably no holiday clubs. The children are really missing their friends and social interaction.
  4.                     I really hope things return to 'normal' in September, for everyone's mental wellbeing.
  5.                     My main concern going back in September is what it will be like for my kids.
  6.                     I am happy for obvious changes to be put in place.  But as a parent I need school to be school - what it offered my child before lockdown. 

 

 

  1.                     I am very nervous that school will become a place that causes my children to fear everything. Teaching them NOT to sit close to anyone NOT to put their arm around a friend who is upset, NOT to share.If this is what school will look like in September, I don't want my children to return.  I have spent the past few months at home creating a safe haven and a secure environment for them to continue to grow and develop.
  2.                     If teachers are fearful, then don't come back, you will just instill this into our children.

 

 

  1.                     Re: 'catching' COVID. It only takes a few droplets from someone who is positive.  So, to put huge amounts of time and effort into social distancing inside the school, and then see kids walking to and from school and at break time being close together.  All those efforts are futile.  Its not worth it. Its impossible to keep kids apart, so encourage washing hands regularly, obviously staying off if any symptoms.  But then just let them enjoy school and interact with their friends.
  2.                     It has been hell! I have two very gifted daughters, aged 8 and 10, their report cards always have overachieving and max effort - my wife and I are very lucky in this respects and extremely grateful. However schooling at home is a different story.

 

 

  1.                     I run our family business, a large local shop, and we also employ eight others. My wife has returned to the shop to work since lockdown lifted but all during lockdown I’ve been running the business. However whilst my wife was at home she dealt with the majority of the homeschooling. 

 

 

  1.                     Since the start of June I’ve been in work mode seven days a week, working on the dining room table alongside my two daughters, who ask questions every two minutes, it’s almost impossible to get anything done.

 

 

  1.                     The work itself isn’t the toughest but often it’s given to them without context and off course no guidance or Q&A from the teacher prior to work start. The teaching methods are extremely different from when my wife and I were at schools, and whilst we’re not stupid it embarrassing to say that we’ve been miffed on a number of occasions with the school work instructions!

 

 

  1.                     My business is at peak season during the summer holidays as we sell school uniform, it’s like Xmas, Easter and the Boxing Day sales all rolled into one. Ordinarily we juggle the children during the summer and a number of times they come into work with us, but that is now unfair on the other staff, permanent and temporary, as social distances must apply and we’re sure our staff don’t want children running around.

 

 

  1.                     My feeling is that there’s not been enough support for parents or children and not enough access to teachers. It like we’ve had to pick up a job we were never trained for, (Yes, alright, like much of parenting, I know!), but this is a new 9-3.30 job that we’ve not had the years of training for that teachers have.

 

 

  1.                     Monday is the most stressful day of the week as it’s the busiest day of the week for my business, phone calls, emails, WhatsApp’s, urgent messages, weekly management meeting, and also the time we pick up the school work packs and the kids pull them apart trying to decode them!

 

 

  1.                     My health is starting to suffer with stress related ailments showing - even as I type this my daughter came to ask me a question I have no clue about, and my frustration reflects her own, hard to keep my blood pressure down, not her fault at all, they try so hard.

 

  1.                     I am a mum of two children (7 and 1) who have been home since mid-March. My husband is also at home but working full time and required to be responsive to work demands during office hours means that it is impossible for me to continue to engage with my work during normal hours. I am a final year PhD student and was supposed to submit my thesis at the end of June. I have been granted an extension until the end of December which is a godsend but I can’t get any substantial work completed at the moment. Our usual childcare arrangements are exclusively with grandparents, one of whom is in the clinically extremely high risk group that were asked to shield. With one main wage coming in, paid childcare is not an option for our family until I can get a job which despite my qualifications will be difficult in the current circumstances. I am therefore attempting to care for my children during daytime hours and work on my thesis until early in the morning. This has left me utterly exhausted and with very little energy to engage positively with homeschooling. We are in a routine that is predictable for my daughter, however until reception, year 1 and year 6 children returned to school my 7 year old had no contact from her school at all. Parents were provided with a weekly activity sheet which started after Easter and provided very limited ideas for educational activities. Basically I felt like we were left without any real support. My daughter had no contact, not even a call for a welfare check, for nearly 4 months while she was at home. Since some children have returned she has been offered weekly group video calls with her teacher for 20 mins. I have been trying to encourage her to keep thinking and learning, offering a variety of resources where I could but this is difficult when you’re not sleeping and not familiar with the resources available or what’s expected to be taught to children who are in year 2.  We have had many arguments at home, my daughter frequently screams at me in frustration, she does not want to do anything linked to learning while she’s at home. Her 1 year old brother is absorbing all of these interactions and is copying her behaviour. He is a normal, energetic toddler who is doing exactly what he should be doing at 1: exploring his environment and developing his language and physical skills. He climbs on tables, hides cat fold around the house and demands food, drinks, attention at all times. We have been living this reality for months now, no end is in sight and it is no one’s fault. I’m not sure how I will possibly be able to educate my daughter, care appropriately for her brother, finish my PhD and stay sane for much longer. The school does not offer much support, and the prospect of an enforced return which increases the number of contacts my daughter with have substantially means we cannot be supported by the grandparents who are close by and very much missing my children and their normal routine. This situation is absolute hell, and we are a strong, well educated, motivated family unit. I cannot begin to imagine what some other parents are going through.
  2.                     I have just come across your information and at last as it was I thought I couldn't be the only one who felt that there was not anywhere to be heard as a parent.  I absolutely agree that the silence of parents does not reflect the full real situation and feelings of some parents and families.

 

 

  1.                     I work as self employed in schools (mostly currently on hold) and have found it frustrating that the approaches of some schools differ.  My daughter is in Year 6 Primary and returned when there were the changes in guidelines.  She has found it extremely difficult being in a socially distanced pod and not allowed to have any interaction with her close friends in another pod (I am aware that other Primary schools at least allow the children to socially distance communicate with each other).  However, she is now settled and happy.

 

 

  1.                     I have been reassured by my daughters secondary school who have done zoom calls and links as part of the transition in September.  She feels more confident starting secondary due to this communication.  I know that others in her 'pod'  haven't had anything from their secondary.

 

 

  1.                     My son goes to the same Primary as my daughter and he has struggled the most during 'lockdown'.  He has SEN and awaiting different assessments.  We have not had any contact from the SENCO or any phone call from the Class Teacher up to very recently and that was following me contacting school regarding my concerns about our son's disconnection with school and that he was not doing any school work despite all our efforts.  

 

 

  1.                     The work packs we were given each week were the same for all the children in his Year Group and he clearly found this overwhelming.  We are not teachers but could see this work was too difficult for him.  He also needs 1:1 to focus and combined with working from home this has been extremely difficult.  I contacted the local advisory for SEN (charity) and they advised contacting the school to request more differentiated work for our son.  They were also surprised we had not had contact from school - other than a collective class dojo message.  These weekly messages did not have much meaning for our son as it was praising all the work that the other children were doing which made him feel even worse.   Whilst this is great to show pictures of his peers and their work, this has made the divide greater. 

 

 

  1.                     The work pack was the same photocopied format every week which meant our son soon lost interest.   We have had access to technology and tried a variety of websites for learning as recommended.  Again this has been something that our son has found difficult to engage with.  We have tired to keep structure and routine etc as well.  

 

 

  1.                     The impact on him is heart breaking as a very lively energetic child now needs all persuasion to go out.  We do not feel that this is related to anxieties about the virus but the impact of isolation - not able to access the activities we would usually.  Sibling dynamics have never been great due to differences in personality and age gap and as a parent it is difficult to see the media portray the 'happy family' home schooling image - there has not seemed to be a reflection of the difficulties on social media either. 

 

  1.                     Amongst this I have been trying to work from home and my partner is still furloughed.  Recently I read in the Government Guidance that schools are now encouraged to accept more pupils if they have the capacity.  I was aware that our children's school has 2 Empty Classrooms.  I phoned 3 weeks ago to request a place for our son to support his transition and help him reconnect before the 7 1/2 weeks school holiday!  I was told that he would be put on the waiting list as there was not any staffing.  Yesterday as my son was putting his shoes on to go out (after much persuasion) he said "I've forgotten what school is like and I can't remember if I wear shoes in school?".  That for us says it all about the impact of this situation.

 

 

  1.                     Homeschooling has been pretty horrendous. No online classes on behalf of the school. Just work set each week via their website for different year groups and using the home teaching package of Hamilton. We just felt abandoned to be honest. Communication from the school was appalling too. We had to purchase a better printer to cope with the requirements of homeschooling and share the laptop. Both my husband and myself were working from home too and stress levels for all of us (including my daughter) were high. I worry about her mental health and the impact this extended home schooling will have.

 

 

  1.                     It’s been incredibly difficult to work and home school and I have failed miserably at both.
  2.                     Initially the school bombarded me with too many on line resources; I picked a few and created a daily timetable. Felt guilty about the ones I ignored.

 

 

  1.                     It was June before the school provided a structured timetable, but it was too difficult to change. It was horrendous anyway whatever we did. My daughter refused to do anything unless I did it with her, if she got a question wrong she’d cry uncontrollably for 2 hours, (although admitted she wouldn’t behave this way in school), and we’d both get frustrated and end up shouting. She’s incredibly angry all the time which is deeply troubling. I’ve now just given up completely with home schooling and try to focus on my own job. If she asks questions about a topic I’ll try to teach her about it and get her to do some related activity, but other than reading (which she loves anyway) I’ve lowered my ambitions to just learning timestables and telling the time.

 

 

  1.                     I have 2 children in high school, one in primary school.  I work part time in the NHS and the rest of my time I run my own private business.  Lockdown has been a nightmare.  Having worked alongside COVID +ve patients and not catching COVID myself the thought of children returning to school when only 2 under 15 years olds have died from COVID versus the 12.7 million under 15 year olds in the UK.
  2.                     Undertaking risk assessments are all about predicting the risks and limiting them.
  3.                     If only 2 out of 12.7 million have died to me the risk is negligible for the children themselves.  Of course there is an increasing risk the children might carry it.  But, then those most vulnerable should remain isolated, or if that's parents of children they obviously don't need to return to school and can undertake home schooling as necessary. If its about the teachers catching it, then those shielding stay at home. Advertise for retired teachers to come back to the profession like the NHS had to. This is a pandemic after all.
  4.                     But, teachers aren't treating COVID +ve patients coughing in their faces.  They are teaching healthy young people.  Obviously any child with symptoms would stay off school.
  5.                     The virus is not going anywhere, and we have to learn to live with it, as safely as we can.

 

 

 

  1.                     How valuable do children feel, when they see the government opening up the pubs and not schools?! They are the next generation who will be paying this off in their taxes for years to come.  They are going to need their education to get jobs to pay this back!

 

 

  1.                     The work set has all been on line. We haven't had enough computers with 3 kids, I have had to use my work computer which I shouldn't do.  Then despite teachers saying don't print work.  I have had to for my youngest, as we don't have enough computers. So over last few months I have printed a tree's worth of worksheets.

 

 

  1.                     There have been no actual videoed teacher lessons for my secondary school kids, all online work set, which is so hard for them to stay motivated to keep doing. My eldest doesn't enjoy using computers, he prefers face to face so its been particularly tough.

 

 

  1.                     I am not a teacher, and am unsure whether they have effectively learnt well at home, or just 'got through' it.  So many of their peers haven't done any work.  Then due to schools wanting to keep their grades/stats high.  I bet they will go over all the work to ensure those not done any will achieve.  Therefore disadvantaging those kids who have been motivated to do the work everyday for the past few months. 
  2.                     So, I wonder whether we should have bothered.

 

 

  1.                     What a mess!
  2.                     I have three children, 4, 5 and 8 years old. My wife an I both work full time, my wife has a very senior position and we are both classed as key workers.  The children have been going to key care, they haven't really been doing any learning at school other than reading the odd book, in the main the key carr has consisted of play. Whilst this has kept their social skills up-to-date, their education has suffered greatly.  It has been extremely difficult to work a full day, then to get back and teach three different levels of homework, not to mention trying to fit in shopping and other house work in the mix.  Whilst we might be tired the children are also exhausted from there day of play at key care. This is putting immense pressure on the little ones, and its hard as a parent to know if we are doing the right thing pushing them to do their work when they are exhausted.  Surely if the children are at school a teacher via online video with a teaching assistant physically present could provide a lesson to children. I feel that the teachers in their mind have done there bit by putting the work online, without the thought of how the parents are able to deliver, especially when the children are too young to do undertake it unaided and there are different levels of homework.  I believe the government should have put stricter and clearer guidance on the teachers.  I believe that because my wife and I are classed as key workers and have been going to work to support the country that our children have paid the price in their education and stress levels in comparison to non key care children.
  3.                     Over 2 schools a junior and a secondary. Great communication and support from both. Too much work from the secondary school though leading to a depressed and isolated child.

 

 

  1.                     It has been awful. We work full time with an 8 and 4 year old at home. The youngest went back to school on 17 June which should have been 1 June and kept being pushed back. The eldest got 45 mins with his class, that’s it. He is upset and crying a lot. Can’t focus on anything or concentrate. I had to take extended leave from my job for a month to support our family because my husbands business is more financially precarious. I have been prescribed medication for anxiety and depression after I stopped sleeping and hit a wall. Parents at the school have abused the key worker system so some have kids in school when they shouldn’t and I feel my son has been penalised for us playing by the rules. He keeps asking me why it is all so unfair and I have no answers for him. If we have to do this again it will break us. I am dreading the summer holidays it is physically impossible to do my job and look after my kids at the level both needs to happen. I will never get past the rage I feel at how appallingly badly my children have been treated through this. They have been bottom of the pile and it’s been assumed that we would pick up the pieces. My son eventually got a 40 min zoom a week to play games with his class that’s it. All other learning has been entirely parents driven. I can’t see myself ever getting past how angry let down and upset I feel about this whole situation. The arrogant complacency of the government, the hysterical obstruction of the unions and the lack of care of leadership from anyone has impacted my children and our family so badly.

 

 

  1.                     I have 2 children, one in Yr 6 who has returned to school now and otherwise is extremely capable and motivated to complete the home learning set by the school. My son, aged 7, in yr 2 however, has struggled, and does not enjoy school work at the best of times. I am working full time, from home, and although my husband has been furloughed, we have found it a real struggle to home school. Concentration and motivation levels are low, as my son associates home with relaxing and a different space to 'school'. The work set by the school has been good, especially during this term, however finding the balance between ensuring he completes it to continue learning without putting strain on our relationship with him has been tough. We don't want to put him off learning for when he returns to school. Home schooling with other commitments is neither effective, nor sustainable.

 

 

  1.                     Home working has allowed us to provide 1:1 education for our 6 and 9 year old girls. They are back in school for the last two weeks of term but aren’t working nearly as hard as at home. But... juggling work and education is a nightmare. I do both badly. I am an NHs worker working flat out at home on work directly affecting our COVID responses but I am unable to do my best as I can only work in short bursts to facilitate my girls education. Luckily they have both coped brilliantly. But they need to be in school. They are getting nervous about going out and de-socialised. They need to be around other  kids. Parents can not be expected to juggle this long term.

 

 

  1.                     We have two adopted boys 5 and 10, 5 year old has experienced severe neglect and has attachment issues and the 10 year old was taken into care at 6 months. Our 10 year old has a condition know as NF1 which comes with learning difficulties. I (Chris, the dad) have been home schooling them during this four month period whilst my wife continues to work. Both boys have had some access to school but limited. It was only when I stated that my mental health was suffering that it was increased to 3 days for our younger son. Older son gets 1 day a week. By then it was too late and I am now suffering with low self esteem, sleeping disorder and have had to increase anti-depressants. I am part of a fostering / adoption group here in Leicester and such situations are common place amongst the members of this group. Now we have 7 weeks of "holiday" when the last thing our boys need right now is a holiday. Especially when Leicester is still in lockdown. Ou boys need the extra tuition now and not next year! I also need a break.

 

 

  1.                     It has been tough.  My daughter is feeling alone and lost interest in doing homeworks. Learning is a social need and task that needs the guide and support of qualified teachers and dedicated environments.

 

  1.                     The school have been phenomenal in providing academic, social and emotional support for our family.

 

 

  1.                     As a grandparent I’ve got custody of my two grandchildren one left school the other still at school but under SEND there. It has been a struggle to do any work at all with him. He sees the home environment as a safe place and not a school. The school is his place to learn and meet friends. The home is a safe place. We need the children to go back to school. As this Covid19 is going to be with us for sometime. All parents need to return to work for their well being. Lock down has put a great strain on everyone.

 

 

  1.                     Our school has gone above and beyond during lockdown, providing daily videos in English, Maths, and Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation with my children’s own teacher teaching a lesson facing camera, adding small jokes and attentions for the children.
  2.                     There were also worksheet provided, the children could complete them and send back per e mail. Teachers answered every single e mail they received. The bond was maintained between teachers and children, it tremendously helped my children stay motivated and focused for homeschooling.
  3.                     This being said, homeschooling 3 children of different levels with a reception one who needs 1-1 time to focus on writing, while the Y4 one still will require help to complete a math task, is NOT an easy task. 
  4.                     Add to that the strict lockdown measures where they had to stay at home all day, and it can get quite stressful. Luckily I am not working and my husband kept going to work, so we did not suffer on top from managing working from home on top of home schooling. I am in awe of parents who did.

 

 

  1.                     Our last disappointment was that our school was ready to welcome Y2 to 5 students on June 29th, my big boy and my daughter were rejoicing, and the county council refused the opening at the very last minute (2 days before !!). Children were utterly disappointed. We are gutted - all the more that we know other schools in the county that are opened to Y2 to y5 with the same provisions than our schools had. We protested, we asked help from our MP, but we were told DfE supported the council decision. We also know academies depending on DfE that are opened to Y2 to Y5 with the same scheme that our school had.
  2.                     We consider the guidance provided from DfE unclear, and the implementation unfair and inconsistent.
  3.                     We are so keen on getting involved for a smooth September back to school.
  4.                     Thanks for all you are doing.

 

 

  1.                     I have two sons, one in year 4 and one in year 1. Neither have returned to school. The year 1 child is at an Infants’ school which only took back Reception and critical worker children. It has been extremely challenging to keep both children engaged. The government’s policy to prioritise some children over others based on their parents’ occupation, especially as time has progressed, is clear discrimination in my view. The first real time contact my children have had with their teachers has been via Zoom in the last two weeks... far too late in my view. My year 4 son in particular has suffered emotionally, is angry and confused and has been desperate to return to school. My year 1 would be happy to never return. He is totally disengaged and I worry about his anxiety (the school has previously reported that he is a quiet and anxious child) on his return to school. The Infants’ school seems to have resumed correspondence as if all children are back, detailing the wonderful experiences of those children fortunate enough to be back at school. I complained to the headteacher, asking to consider those not fortunate enough to be allowed to return to school and received  a disappointing response which stated that children in school were following the same curriculum sent home for parents to teach and the teacher would share the achievements of those at home were she to receive more feedback. No empathy whatsoever for how families are having to operate at home. I am amazed that parents have not been protesting more to get children back to school. I welcome this campaign!

 

 

  1.                     With a young baby and 2 year old, home schooling my year 3 child has been very hard. My husband works long hours, often away for days at a time and I have no help. My eldest struggles to work independently and needs constant help. The school itself only set a few worksheets 3 times a week (most of it needs printing and we don't have a printer) and we haven't had a single lesson on zoom and haven't had a single piece of work marked. I assume that perhaps they are doing that to take the pressure off parents but it actually increases the pressure because I am having to teach him concepts from scratch with 2 young children hanging off my leg. There have been many times we just go round in circles where I try to teach him things but he doesn't understand and I can't see why. It leads to frustration for both of us. It's really affected our relationship and also has left my 2 youngest lacking the time and attention they also need.

 

  1.                     It was easy and enthusiastic to start with, after the easter hols it was harder to get going, we have concentrated on maths (timetables, work sent from school, various learning platforms on laptop), english (again, reading, spellings and grammar on learning platforms)and some science, we've thoroughly enjoyed our time together, his anxiety and tics have calmed down and he seems to be thriving.
  2.                     I still get resistance, and he doesnt miss it.
  3.                     He does miss his friends but he doesnt miss the mean behaviour from other kids or being punished because the kid who bullys everyone isnt here! 
  4.                     I'm very reluctant to send him back until a vaccine is ready as I'm an extremely vulnerable adult and NO provisions have been made as of yet for people like me who have children at school.
  5.                     Hes worried about going back as I'm a single parent and I cant imagine how my son would feel if he brought the virus home.
  6.                     I dont trust Johnson, Gove or Williamson (I'm not being told what to do by an education minister who used to sell fireplaces. He has no experience)!
  7.                     It's quite simple really, continue to provide work for parents who want to keep THEIR children at home to continue home educating! 
  8.                     I dont want to de- register him as he will be going into yr 6 and it's an important year.....but I'm not paying any fines.
  9.                     The government cannot guarantee our safety so according to sect 44 of the employment act states quite clearly that safety has to be guaranteed then I'm perfectly within my rights as a parent to keep him off!

 

 

  1.                     Overwhelming, stressful and tiring. We have a 3yo and a 7yo, both work full time in jobs that have ramped up since lockdown started- public sector. The homeschooling is done but there is no quality from the teaching side - we just do it to get the work done. Balancing with our jobs means we play tag team and catch up for the whole week.The school has supported those that have gone into school and left the others to their own devices, posting up about 20 pieces of work per week with no additional support.

 

 

  1.                     The school has followed govt guidance and given the patchy nature of this, the school has been slow and reactive. Some schools have now opened to all year groups, some were able to run online classes since lockdown started. Not ours - why?

 

  1.                     The educational attainment gap is going to get bigger. I count myself lucky that I am not a single parent with a full time job, with multiple children to homeschool, who did not grow up in this schooling system and where English is not my first language. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for them and their children.

 

 

  1.                     My son is finishing Foundation stage this week. He managed to go back to school during June for three weeks before Leicester went into lockdown again. When he was back at school we could see he very much enjoyed being back playing with his friends and seeing his teachers. He was back to his old confident and independent self whereas during lockdown (March-early June) he was getting too clingy. He coped well with homeschooling during that time but we definitely noticed behavioural changes. As parents working full time from home, homeschooling and childcare have been greatly affecting our productivity at work and caused a lot of stress in our relationship, health and well being. It has been very tough to balance/address these. We very much value the school and teachers' roles in society.

 

 

  1.                     During lockdown the school uses Weduc for announcements, sending messages to parents and putting the home learning tasks/activities. Tapestry is also used for parents to record their child's work. There were daily set activities based on the weekly theme for English (phonics, reading and writing) and Maths. There were also arts/crafts activities posted in relation to the theme that week. We were given access to Epic, Owl Books, Sumdog and other resources to help our child's learning. Thankfully there's an extra laptop at home for our child to use for home learning or else this would further affect our work productivity if we had to use our work laptop for home learning. We found that there is a lot of home learning to go through in a day and it was difficult for us to do them with our child with his short attention span. We eventually resorted to work through these daily activities in his pace throughout the week. Logging his progress on Tapestry was an annoying task for us but we knew it was essential. There wasn't much guidance on how we should be logging his progress so we mainly looked at what teachers had previously posted and tried to copy that. What's really lacking during the homeschooling is the follow up work and regular checking in and interaction with our child from teachers and other pupils in his class. There was only one Zoom organised by teachers for his class during end of May and even this we didn't manage to join due to technical difficulties which made my child frustrated. It would've been better to have at least weekly Zoom calls with his class even for just half an hour for them to have some interaction, to check in and for children to 'see' each other and not feel too lonely (especially for those who are the only children at home with no other child to play with for so many weeks!).
  2.                     2 children:

 

1)      year 6 - changes from work set remotely with no interaction to online via Microsoft teams (2 live lessons, others pre-recorded) to back to school full time, to back to school half days.

 

2)      year 2 - online work - changed from work set remotely with no interaction to online via Google classrooms - all prerecorded except one 30 min 'form time' each day. No return to school. Reasonably pleased with online provision but it requires hands on support from one parent at very regular intervals (15 mins)

 

  1.                     A very difficult time. Child (1) became very withdrawn and unmotivated to the extent that he would not get up or go out and on occassion refused to eat. This vanished when he went back to school and he is currently v happy.

 

  1.                     Child (2) finds it hard to concentrate in a home environment (although is apparently fine at school) which has led to lots of arguing and storming off. She also misses social interaction and we have taken to running our own art lessons for a group of her friends in an outside space with a furloughed art teacher, and joining a tennis club with a school group too. That said, it has been interesting seeing her learn and grow and being more involved with the school content.

 

 

 

  1.                     Both parents  (did) work full time. This is impossible with home schooling so I have been getting up at 5.30am to do a couple of hours work, and fitting in calls/ meetings etc. No weekend breaks. Productivity has suffered and it is very stressful working and managing a home with no support team (usually cleaner, au pair).

 

  1.                     My children are extremely conscientious and we were able to provide new computers.  They have been given minimal guidance from the school but just worksheets.  Very few live lessons and only one video call during whole of lockdown.  Poor response from head blaming lack of teaching on the fact that his staff have their own children to teach.  Really poor response from flagship school.
  2.                     We are fortunate we can afford to print stuff out and give the children a room and a laptop between them. We both as parents work full time and continued to while we home school And look after shielded parents.  The thing is we didn’t provide friendship, banter, anecdotes, explanation, interaction and the pure talent that a teacher can and our children are lonely and bored. Very sad to see them working at a computer alone all day at such a young age with us popping in to link up the next video. Horrendous times. And we are the lucky ones who can afford the materials and space for them. 
  3.                     What about families with one phone and one room between 5? What about the autum when it’s raining and cold and they can’t go out? It’s damaging for children. They have to see their peers and go to school.

 

 

  1.                     We have to make a safe way for the teachers to be protected and the children to all be back in. Let’s get the army involved. Portacabins. Extra cleaning staff employed. Come on we can do this.
  2.                     Poorly photocopied worksheets uploaded to the website. Lists of BBC Bitesize videos to watch. Allowed to email work to a teacher once a week but no feedback given. Totally left single full time working parents on their own. When parents asked for video conferencing lessons the school said teachers had to be in school, were at home shielding or looking after their own children. Those at home without their own children “shouldn’t be expected to do more just because they don’t have children”

 

 

  1.                     Both my children’s’ independent schools have done a good job of providing structured online education during the lockdown.  Their academic progress has been perhaps 25%-50% of what it could have been in school, which is absolutely not acceptable beyond this term but I think may well be excellent compared to many experiences due to our ability to pay and hold the schools (which were not good enough in the first few weeks) to account.  However, cutting schooling back to the absolute bare basics of core academic subjects has taken all the joy out of their education and impeded their social development, creativity, physical skills and mental well being.

 

 

  1.                     My husband and I have been unable to home school our 7 year old as we were working  during lockdown, The school provided some work on one orenote . Thee was a phone call for 10 mins from the school once a month. We don’t understand why zoom or teams lessons weren’t provided as it would have maintained a level of interaction necessary for development. We also don’t understand why the critical worker criteria was in place once lockdown was eased so some children returned to school in June but not others.   We are very disappointed with the government and school for their lack of forward thinking.

 

 

  1.                     I have (thankfully) been furloughed and have one son who was 6 when we started homeschooling-now 7 and in Year 2 about to be Year 3.
  2.                     His lessons were provided on videos for each day and were ‘supposed’ to be 40 minutes for each lesson. There was a weekly Assembly on Google Meet to chat and ‘show’ work they were proud of.
  3.                     However to submit what he had written in Literacy in 40 minutes usually amounted to 10 words (if we were lucky) in amongst the 6 toilet breaks/hug per word/meltdown/anger/‘I can’t do it’/‘I don’t understand’s’/hiding and running off to play Lego! Therefore we spent all day doing both Maths and Literacy instead of the other lessons that should have been fitted in each day?!
  4.                     I did ensure that reading was kept up on the weekly book and thank heavens, my son found The 13th Storey Treehouse series of books and turned into a bookworm for the last 2 weeks of term and read 5 of the books (instead of lessons). 
  5.                     His teacher was very pleased with this and did say that it was beneficial long term (agreed) and now needs to be kept up! 

 

 

  1.                     We had to deliver (& still re) food shopping to my shielding parents in another county each Thursday and then deliver food cooked by my Mum to my sister & shielding Nephew who live close to us as well as her shopping. Therefore one day was taken out by that! School was very understanding but it was a struggle to get all Cote subjects done.

 

  1.                     Personally I too have cried and craved parts of my old life back! 
  2.                     My partner has been working full time since Lockdown so homeschooling was left to me! Our son is too young to do any work ‘independently’ bar about 6 Maths sessions although I stayed in the room to assist if necessary.
  3.                     I just pray that schools return in September as my job as Cabin Crew is about to resume and I can not be physically here to homeschool when at 36000ft in the air!! 
  4.                     I truly hope he is not scarred by the ‘experience’ and we both cheered when Mummy’s school shut for the summer!!
  5.                     However, he is doing a few pages of Maths & English work books each day as well as reading to keep him ticking over for 9 weeks! 
  6.                     Thankfully we have a great relationship and I don’t think any long term damage has been done. However I can’t do another term of home schooling!! 
  7.                     Thanks for listening!!

 

 

 

  1.                     One of my children who attended Wilshere-Dacre Junior Academy has had the most amazing experience.  They have sent home good quality lessons and work.  It's like they were in school the whole time.

 

 

 

  1.                     My other child who goes to a different infant school has had barely any work. The lessons were.shoddy at best. Hardly any educational value and poorly organised.

 

 

  1.                     Our children are in years 10 and 8.
  2.                     As parents, we are both key workers for the NHS and Prison Service. One of us has hefty contractual hours and significant travel time. The other works very locally and the family run 1 car. 
  3.                     We were utterly dismayed to find key worker’s children  provision at their school consisted of walking around the school grounds and playing some games. There appeared to be no real support for private study and no consideration for parental working times outside the school provision. 

 

 

  1.                     Home schooling mainly has relied upon our children picking up emails and online prompts and on trust that they would get through work in a timely fashion. There has been very little transparency for parents regarding the children’s progress through this work, and relies on our teenagers being honest (or not as the case may be). For the child in year 10, there has been no clear guidance on what this works equates to- whether it is revision or new material, or indeed whether it is a useful contribution to their assessments and attainment for year 11. Face to face provision has been for 2 hours a week for the yr 10, which has meant one parent taking annual leave 1 day a week for 5 weeks to service this as the school transport is furloughed; the firm quite rightly advised it was not viable to lose subsidy by re-opening for this period. 
  2.                     Family arguments have snowballed recently, putting enormous strain on the parental relationship. With no clear path to plan for, apart from being advised by school that flexible working may be needed (probably impossible to achieve for either parent), we are now dreading the rest of the year including the “summer holidays”.

 

 

  1.                     At first there was no pressure from school,suggestions of fun things to do at home, but no expectations to be doing loads. As lockdown progressed and it became clear my children weren't going back, we have been issued with a home learning pack, with more ideas, work sheets and tasks loosely based around the content they would have covered this term. Again, pressure to complete this has been minimal. We have been offered a 2 hour catch up with their teacher session, and a 2 hour meet their new teacher for september session. We have had fortnightly phone calls from one class teacher, but little contact from the other class teacher. We have been directed to some fun videos of the teachers on the school website. The children have had no direct elearning or online lessons from the school.

 

 

  1.                     Home schooling has been horrendous- I have been juggling the demands of a Y1 child with being a parent/carer to my 9 year old who has complex special needs. My child with SEN has had 2 x 4 hour sessions and 4 x 6 hour sessions over the past 3 weeks at school with no other support from the SEN school apart from the odd call to find out if I’m OK. His behaviour has been extremely challenging as developmentally he is around 2 years and doesn’t understand the lockdown and why he can’t go to school as normal. My other son’s mainstream school have provided work which because means a lot of input and motivation from me which I have struggled to provide along side coping with my older son’s needs. I do not have a printer which means I am writing out his work too.  I am exhausted.

 

 

  1.                     I have 3 adopted children , 2 of which have attachment disorder and developmental trauma.  Home schooling and working from home has been a nightmare.  My oldest son is 15 and has just returned part time this week.  My 12 year old has seriously struggled and we have been told he is 15 weeks behind on some of his work despite me sitting with him for 2 hours a day.  My 8 year old hates home schooling- she also has sensory issues and struggles with the notion that I am her teacher as well as her mum.  It takes her all morning to do 2 pieces of work.  It would have been much easier to just give up but I am persevering because I Don’t want them to be too far behind in September.

 

 

  1.                     I can’t wait for the 6 weeks holidays so we can get out and about without the constant stress..
  2.                     I am a secondary school teacher with two secondary school children. Trying to do my job (setting work, supporting students, marking work, running online lessons, calling students, awarding GCSE and A level grades, reassuring worried parents etc) whilst at the same time trying to motivate and support my own children has been stressful and had an impact on our mental health. I don't believe that even with the best will in the world and the most diligent parents and students that real learning is happening anywhere. Work may be getting done but this is not learning. We have had no training, little support and no time to prepare for online learning so to expect us continue with this way of educating is unrealistic for teachers, students and parents.

 

 

  1.                     It has been awful.  I have tried repeatedly to make contact with the school, writing to the head and Governors to explain the impact but was told that the Government said they don’t have to deal with complaints.  We’ve had two worksheets a day, one literacy and one maths which have been taking half an hour to complete. This is not providing education.  We have to mark them ourselves and were asked not to send the maths ones back via see saw which then questions how they will know who has completed what’s on return. They provided a topic list but none of the materials despite this being the same topic list they’ve had for at least 3 years so I’ve had to source and download myself.  There has been no personal contact, no phone calls only 2 group zoom calls in July that lasted 12 mins. So how do they know the children are safe and well? Children don’t want to do work set by parents they want to impress their teacher so when I send the work in that I’ve completed with him and only get a smiley face emoji he deepens his disappointment and makes him question if his teachers care.  There have not been any interactive sessions or delivered content.  The teachers didn’t do anything until after he half term when see saw was set up but told us all about the amount of time they spent in their garden while I had spent weeks trying to provide education and work in a fairly high level job with both of us with key worker status but me shielding so we didn’t want to send them to school. Also at school they only did the same 2 worksheets and the rest of the day was spent doing art so his education would have suffered more.  The school has not demonstrated any care, desire to educate or understanding of the children’s (and parents needs).  My son was getting increasingly depressed and when I asked about meeting up at a park with friends he thought no one would like him anymore.  I therefore made the difficult decision to send him back to school for the last two weeks of term for his mental health and have seen such a vast improvement in him despite him only being back in pods with people he doesn’t know as they are in mixed age groups.  I had to balance his mental health needs with education (as still only do 2 worksheets and art) but feel I made the right choice.  This period has nearly broken me personally, balancing work and homeschool has meant constant guilt at not achieving either very well while doing it all from a dining table and clearing away every day.  I feel my son will be behind other kids whose schools have provided so much more, particularly private schools in a year when he will soon be doing his grammar test in a highly competitive area and wonder if this will therefore effect his long term future. I’ve done my best but will forever question if I could have done more/ been more inspirational/ effected the mental health of my child.  I never want to repeat this time and can not believe that the government has prioritised opening shops and pubs over opening schools before September.  I live in fear that we will have to do this again and my child will suffer forever because of the Governments lack of guidance to schools, lack of monitoring and lack of understanding.

 

 

  1.                     My children are in yr 4 and reception. It was very difficult to know what we need to specially with my reception daughter. BBC bitsize helped but it didn’t have the daily lessons like other years. She wanted maths paper like her older sister but there wasn’t any. I had to buy a new printer and we’ve gone through lots of papers, had to sign up to various website (some not free) to find resources. It got better after May holidays when school introduced google classroom for both years and we were clear on what we need to learn. It is still a struggle to balance life, breaks and off screen playtime. We still do only necessary topics such as English, Maths and hoping trampoline counts as PE. However I have enjoyed my time with my girls and if we had right resources from the beginning, it would’ve been a better experience. It’s been times when I was v frustrated and had to remove myself and remember I’m not a teacher. However I look forward to sending them back to school in Sep.

 

 

  1.                     Homeschooling a year 2 and a year 5 whilst we both work at home throughout the whole time from when lockdown started to September when they hopefully go back to school.
  2.                     There has been huge amount of both home school work and actual work, which as a result of COVID19 has increased. 
  3.                     School has marked all the work and the year 2 teacher has made two home visits however we got our first phone call from the year 5 teacher in week 12.

 

 

  1.                     Ive has to print everything off each week which has cost a fortune and taken ages. 
  2.                     We’ve had to do lots of school work either very early in the morning or late in the evening, around the multiple virtual work calls. Plus it’s been very hard to motivate the kids as all they want to do is go on the PS4. 

 

 

  1.                     It’s has been extremely hard emotionally for the kids who have really missed the structure and social side of school. I feel their learning has suffered even though we have done all the work set as they just can’t concentrate at home.
  2.                     More importantly I am concerned about their mental wellbeing as they have had loads of screen time whilst doing homeschool and when we are working. We never would have permitted it before COVID19 but have had no choice as it’s the only safe activity they can do whilst we are both in back to back zoom work calls.

 

 

  1.                     We feel forgotten and can’t fathom why schooling couldn’t have been shared out more equally.
  2.                     We have 2 children - 7 and 4 and neither have been able to go back to school. I am working full time from home and my husband can’t work from home. 
  3.                     I am constantly telling my children to be quiet when I am on work calls which are constant - this is not fair to the children in their own home. Some days they watch television all day. This is not healthy for parents or children and our mental health has suffered. Neither my job or looking after the children are getting proper attention, never mind homeschooling. 

 

 

  1.                     My company has told me that we need to be accountable. No one was furloughed but I think they could have considered something to help parents. We feel the school could have done so much more such as zoom calls or a daily video message from a teacher or headmistress. They have sent plenty of work but the children need to see or hear their teachers.
  2.                     Mother of 3 girls aged 9,6 and 3.

 

  1.                     I gave up my job after 2 weeks of lockdown. I have been at home with my children for 5 years and had just re-entered the job market.

 

  1.                     My home is a fun, caring, nurturing place. We are usually out and about on trips, at the playground and visiting Friends and family. Lockdown was busy with 3 kids but I am used to that. But our home became a place of tears and frustration when we tried to make it into a school. 
  2.                     My 9 year old and 3 year old have been fine at home. The 9 year old has been socialising online and the 3 year old is pretty happy at home playing and colouring.
  3.                     My 6 year old has really struggled. We could have done it if she had gone back in May / June but it has been way too long. Home should be a place for nurture and care and she couldn’t work out how to balance to two. She is young for year 2 and is in several intervention groups at school. It put too much pressure on our relationship and in the end she stopped talking at home at all. I tried to stop all the worksheets and just do learning in the park or outside but she just didn’t want it from me. It was so upsetting to see her so quiet and with so little confidence. Even the normal activities she loved like riding her bike became a chore. I will never put her through that again. If we have to home school again I won’t be doing it with my daughter.
  4.                     The school have done their best, and we are lucky that our eldest (9yo) is very self motivated - but she has found it hard to stay that way without being in class environment with her friends and I don’t think would handle it well if schools don’t restart in September. Our youngest (6yo) who is quite bright and hardworking at school seemed to find it difficult to be inspired at home and needed a lot of support which was a strain on parents, and also created extra tension in relationships. We were worried that he was losing his joy in learning. Luckily he in Year 1 and was able to go back to school - he is SO much happier.
  5.                     I wish my son’s school had carried on lessons via zoom or similar. Instead, he’s set homework that he races to complete as quickly as possible which doesn’t feel like learning.
  6.                     My sons school have been very good setting work for my son. They understood lots of the parents are working parents so children could complete as much as they could and sent in examples.

 

 

  1.                     It started well but I work for the nhs, so have worked all they way through lockdown. We started well but my 11 year old son gradually lost motivation and set home schooling reduced to zero. I also have a 2 year old so had to split my attention. My husband was daddy day care and his home schooling was pe! We concentrated more on family time daily walk or bike rides, baking, drawing, painting, garden games. 

 

 

  1.                     Home schooling caused at lot of stress at a difficult time. Facebook littered with super mums who completed whole school days and kids stayed at home all day in their uniform. I was lucky to get my son out of his pj’s. My son missed his friends, his gymnastics training and his structure. It became a battle of wills so we decided that home schooling was not priority. He returned to school on 01/06 as he is in year 6. I dread anymore lockdowns with home schooling.
  2.                     I’m a part time key worker in food production and retail. Classified as doing essential work to support the emergency situation. Despite hearing continuously on the news that schools were open to key worker children it was not until end of June that I was successful in getting my son back into school part time. The school did not have the staff available (illness and shielding) and had prioritised other key workers ahead of those in the food industry.
  3.                     Work has been unusually stressful, it’s been busy but with less staff due to social distancing. For nearly 3 months I crammed school work into 3 days, worked 3 long days and took Sunday to rest. I got to breaking point and cried and begged on the phone to the school. I couldn’t go on any longer. I was exhausted and my son was showing  signs of anxiety: long sobbing sessions and crying uncontrollably, unable to focus, scrambled thoughts, seeing dots. Our relationship was suffering, I was pushing him to complete work and it was stressing him out. Materials supplied by the school were/are fantastic but I was overwhelmed as there is way too much. I had to par it back to focusing only on maths and literacy. We email his written work to the school and he gets feedback. Since he’s been at school 3 days a week his mood has shifted, he is socialising and regained some independence. He appears to be much happier, our relationship is back to normal. The school has worked so hard to create a safe environment, I’m not worried about him being there. I don’t want to have to go through this again. You might think I’m an only parent, I’m not, and my husband has been working 100%+ to save his job on 80% of his salary. He’s not been free to support homeschooling at all.

 

 

  1.                     The school have been outstanding. The headteacher is truely wonderful. They have sent postcards to the children, done welfare calls, sent videos to say they are missing them and been very interactive with the work submitted. Luckily my children got to go back on 1 June 2020 which has helped considerably as I was working full time at home and trying to teach.

 

 

  1.                     Coopers lane primary has been just phenomenal. Children have received fortnightly calls from their class teacher, there have been videos from each year group at the start of the eeek with mini lessons in maths etc. There have been videos celebrating the children and their work and even video cooking tutorials from the head teacher! All subjects have been represented and the Mental health of children and families has really been our at the heart of everything. If you are looking for an exemplar of how to do this, Look no further.

 

 

  1.                     The school has been woeful in supporting the children.  The first contact from the school was in week 12 of lockdown. The re was work set, but in maths his constituted setting the children (y7) 9 weeks of work to work through at the start of lockdown. The follow up has been inconsistent depending on subject area.  

 

 

  1.                     Most of the work is set by email, rather than having a variety of learning opportunities (videos / live stream etc). When challenged over the lack of Video content / other ways of engaging children, I was told that teachers were told not to do this as some families we’re sharing laptops. Other schools have supported such situations with school loan laptops. This cannot be an excuse for not trying
  2.                     Overall support from school has been low and the government nonexistent.  It’s been the most intense and stressful experience and we have cried most days.

 

 

  1.                     The head teacher early on even sent an email telling parents to make sure their children did enough work so they did not feel left out when they did a display when they got back. A DISPLAY. I wrote back saying that suggesting that children will in some way (albeit unintentionally) shamed for not completing sufficient work is placing a huge amount of stress and pressure on children and parents at a very difficult time. It’s been thankless and impossible. I feel forgotten in this crisis doing 3 jobs- parent, teacher and employee. Not thanked by the government and invisible unpaid labour, like women always are.

 

  1.                     I also resent the “we will all appreciate teachers more now!” rhetoric. I appreciated them before, they’re also trained paid professionals doing a necessary and important job. I am not in any way trained on educating children, I’m their mummy and I have a different role to fulfil to them to ensure they grow up healthy and well balanced. The demands they put upon me are always harder and more intense because the love is unconditional. The parent stepping into the teacher role is not comparable to being their parent.
  2.                     There is no follow up on work, only one whole class virtual meeting in the whole of lock down. All daily activities are lap top based. 3 extra activities per week which are impossible for child to do independently and often require craft items most people would not have in.  We have been left, whilst the teachers have enjoyed an extended break only working every few weeks to cover key workers children.  Been told don’t worry about the work - but how can you not when other kids are with stay at home/furloughed parents who can give the time and focus.   There’s no thinking out the box - even a 10 minute zoom meeting for a small part of the class to share work would incentivise them to work so they had something to show.  I simply don’t have the time to stand over them getting work - well not if I want to keep my job.  

 

 

  1.                     Home schooling is not the correct term - this is not home schooling this is just school closure.
  2.                     my daughter has SEN and health issues and is shielding. She is 17. Homeschooling hasn't been too bad, she has been e mailed work from school. She has been bored because she has had to stay in - I have COPD too so it is in my interests for the family to be selective about where any of us go. 
  3.                     The school could have provided more in the way of online/video lessons, or teachers even spoken to her on the phone. I have had one phone call from a teacher at week 10 of the lockdown.
  4.                     I am considering if to send her back in September, as another child with the same rare condition as my daughter died 4 weeks ago. She suffers from anxiety anyway and I am anticipating that she will be very anxious going back to school. 
  5.                     I would be happy to keep her at home if we had more support educationally, as I said I am fearful of a second wave and I dont see how didtancing can be enforced in a 1K + school environment
  6.                     Homeschooling has been brilliant. Teachers follow up regularly, great mix of work.

 

  1.                     My children have both benefitted from being at home.

 

 

  1.                     Sadly so many critical workers have taken up spaces in our primary school that the school has been unable to take back the year 1s and year 6s. One of my children is in year 6, and I'm absolutely devastated that they will have no real sign off to their primary education, not to mention the important face to face interaction with peers which is so important at this age. I was always very keen for all of my children to return this term.

 

 

  1.                     I work full time running my own business, and since being allowed back to work on 11th May, I have been the busiest I'm ever been, trying to keep on top of it by working into the night and before schooling in the morning. My husband also works full time. I have done my best to home school my children, having to find a lot of my own resources in the first few weeks as the school were slow to send out anything of any real substance. The children have had 2 phone calls from their teachers since lockdown.

 

 

  1.                     The last 2 months have been so busy, but I'm feeling I'm doing a bad job of everything, shouting at my children for not doing what they are supposed to be doing, whilst desperately trying to catch up with my backlog of work, and also trying to protect my husband's job from risk of redundancy, by allowing him to fully concentrate on his work. I have now had to give myself permission to let the school work lapse, as mental wellbeing, and my need to protect my business and earn money have become vital.

 

  1.                     I was shocked by the attitude of the teachers union back in May, when so many other key workers absolutely rose to the challenge of the virus. Their politicisation of the government's wish for pupils to return to school by the end of term was outrageous, and in my opinion schools could definitely have returned, and it has been safe enough, judging by the number of children at school and parents happily dropping off and picking up every day.  

 

 

  1.                     The return of all pupils could have been gradual, and might have required a rotation of bubbles of 15 week on, week off. This would of course have required a review of critical worker status, which in my opinion should have changed as the pandemic colour code went to amber, and everyone who had a job was allowed and encouraged back to work, and rebuilding the economy became the focus.   The unions seemed to scare monger parents into thinking it was unsafe, and yet the majority of teaching staff and other critical workers seem to have been very happy to send their own children back in (presumably as, like me, they knew it was important for their children), even when they have partners/other carers working at home, on furlough, or not working at all. I even toyed with the idea of getting a part time job at the local supermarket just so that my children could return.

 

 

  1.                     The current discrimination against non critical workers' children cannot continue in September.  The amount of education every child receives must be fair and equal.
  2.                     My child has suffered greatly. Usually a lover of learning and being at school, she has become angry and distracted at home. 

 

 

  1.                     Trying to hold down two jobs, a house and home school has been a nightmare. 
  2.                     The school send out weekly work via email but it is the only contact we have. No further support from them. They have been told by the government to concentrate on key worker children. 
  3.                     Also, the government advised our school to prioritise their nursery children over legal age school children.  Why is this the case? The nursery children are not legal, there are fines for us in higher years when we miss school. It has been a disgrace and Yr1 and Yr2 at our school should have been the ones invited back. 
  4.                     Many parents are furious at the way this has been handled but our head keeps telling us it was a government decision and not further information why. Parents do not have the time although frustrated to be lobbying for change at the moment.

 

 

  1.                     We have three children under 9 at home who have not had any time in school. We have juggled work, family bereavement and financial difficulty and it is taking it's toll on us all. Employers are not understanding, no matter what Boris says in public! Parents need more back-up.

 

 

  1.                     Juggling a full time job, especially one that has required greater than average attention due to COVID19 has really impacted on our little family... mentally overwhelmed with the constant need to juggle between being a good parent, family member, community supporter, teacher, worker... Its made all the more harder when the children don't get consistent information from school. It has driven us to despair that we now feel like we don't have quality family time anymore and yet the children's channels are still showing children's shows... why couldn't at least one of them become the teaching channel, why hasn't a free app been developed to at least get the kids through the basic curriculum and why does the school think we all have printers on tap... We had to share devices in order to keep up with meetings and keep up with the requirements... if we have a bad week the schoolwork disappears from the website so we cannot catch up... there is limited provision for kids to be kids and play with each other.

 

 

  1.                     School work set on a Friday for the next week, all work due in by the next Friday.  Mostly power point then questions, daughter bored, I'm bored! 
  2.                     Very little follow up by teacher, no live video teaching.
  3.                     Good communication by form tutor. 

 

 

  1.                     Disappointed.
  2.                     2 Primary school aged kids.

 

 

  1.                     Why at no point has anyone asked what access to the internet or devices. Schools have assumed not everyone has rather than understanding the gap and then asking how do we fill it.

 

 

 

  1.                     State Schools have not had to pro ide education so they havent so why didn't they furlough some of their staff and save some money as teachers were nit doing even a proportion of their job.

 

 

  1.                     My kids had no phone calls from their teacher, how hard would that have been.

 

 

  1.                     Planning is required because this is going g to happen again. And I'm pretty sure prior to 2020 we thought the education of our kids was paramount.

 

 

  1.                     I've worked 15 hour days because of covid but what has our education secretary been doing??
  2.                     We have 2 very active boys who were at school from 7:45-18:15 mon-thurs with lots of sports clubs at the weekend. Suddenly this was all gone due to Corona Virus. Neither boy would entertain any of the home learning sent home from school even though at school both loved learning and were doing well. They both developed aggressive behaviour and their ability to play together without fighting reduced to virtually zero. This developed to the point where we would have to separate them and restrain them to stop them injuring themselves, each other or breaking things in the house. We had to ask for intervention for the school and the head teacher had to visit twice a week to try and protect their mental health and ours as parents. One has now gone back as he is reception but the other one is a year 2 and this is his final year of infant school and he has to transition to junior school. This should have been a year of celebration and transition activities and these have all gone. The emotional effect of this and being told he will never return to that school but his brother can has affected his mental health and he has lost al motivation to do anything productive during the day. The government ignored year 2’a who were transitioning this year just like year 6’s. This has caused many children in this position huge amounts of anxiety. With things now relaxing he is happier because football club and tennis lessons have restarted but he is still suffering mental disturbance and who knows what damage this period has already done. I am not sure he would cope with more time out of school in sept. He is in Infant School not Primary and like the government you have not considered this in your options below.

 

 

  1.                     Bloody hard work. Difficult when you are a working parent and expected to work from home and then home school. We didn't have any 1-2-1 communication from tutor which was disappointing. Have a folder full of work and know no one will look at it. I am sure there will be a greater divide when we return so how will this be dealt with in the classroom. How do you also tell a child that it is OK not to Social distance anymore and it is back to normal!

 

 

  1.                     The work load set was ridiculous, made parents feel inadequate.  The amount asked was way more than they do at school Over time this did improve and after a discussion work was more appropriate to my child’s requirements, but only after 9 weeks 

 

  1.                     Sitting reading and maths test at home was not the easiest
  2.                     No discussion about meeting the needs to my child with SEND in returning to school
  3.                     The requirement to return are ridiculous and more damaging to a child mental health 
  4.                     In the end we found our own way of learning and made my children happier

 

 

  1.                     I have two daughters and work full-time. My husband also works full-time, and we have jointly been working incredibly hard since COVID-19 struck. Our daughters are at a private prep in central London. It struggled to adapt, but we have been using Google classroom and there have been class calls on a daily basis but just for a chat and nothing one-to-one. The input required from parents to organise, explain, facilitate, teach, submit and mark work has been enormous. We have had the resources to pay student nannies to help us, which has been fantastic and has proved that a huge amount can be achieved through virtual lessons which our school refused to provide (live interactivity). But we are not doing all the lessons set, and we are completely shattered and burned out. We have hardly had time to sleep. Our daughters are neglected and we are all struggling to get fresh air and exercise. One of our daughters needs a lot of encouragement to work and has only completed a lesson when an adult has been sitting with her, one of us, a student nanny on zoom or a grandparent on zoom. The other daughter does all her work by 10am and then goes crazy needing attention for the rest of the day. We feel like deficient, inadequate and stressed parents and employees and I am very worried about the state of our health. I had breast cancer three years ago and feel terrified that this period of stress will make it come back (probably irrational). I know of families with children in school because one parent is a key worker and the other parent does not work at all and that makes me so angry when we are on our knees doing everything with no option of school. Why do those families get a place over a family with two working parents and no childcare? Our school has not taken back the years our daughters are in and will not until September at the earliest but I just have no idea how we carry on for much longer. We get messages from our school about the personal sacrifice the teachers are making, but many of them have refused to go back to work and we are all making personal sacrifices. The school has also said it needs a break over summer. We will not be getting a break as our work continues without a 6-8 week break. I do not feel the difficulties facing ordinary working and two-working parent families have been reflected in coverage of the school closures.  I also feel very angry that working mothers are bearing the brunt of this situation, picking up the pieces of policies and decisions being made by men who have no idea what childcare means and what it is like to juggle a job and parenting. I am so grateful to you for starting this campaign and I wholeheartedly support it. Thank you so much.

 

 

  1.                     We have both kids at home whilst trying to hold down full time jobs. One is 5 (in reception) the other 4 (due to be in reception in sept 2020). Homeschooling and the expectation that comes with it have been very tough. My 5 year was absolute thriving in school and loved learning, but because I don’t know how to teach, she now dislikes maths and tolerates phonics/ reading. I’m concerned that more homeschooling will put her off school and learning altogether. It is imperative that schools re-open full time in September - children need to learn in a school environment from people who are trained to be teachers, with vast resources at their disposal. Children need the social interaction with other children. Parents who still have jobs can then be more productive (and contribute to the economy) during the working day. The government and the unions should stop trying to delay opening schools (or have schools available only part of the time to children) - the rest of the country is adjusting to the new norm. Schools should too.

 

 

  1.                     Home-schooling has intend been hell, and is not something we ever have the stomach to repeat.  When the news reported that it could go on until Oct/ Nov, I was properly on the verge of a mental breakdown ("THIS CANNOT HAPPEN"), and I know I was not the only one.

 

 

  1.                     I have a child in Yr 1 & a child in Yr 4 in a First School.  The first thing to note is that a London centric government has totally overlooked the Middle School Model, and even though Yr 4 are leaving this yr, the goverment guidelines have not allowed for schools to prioritise Yr 4 & Yr 8, in the way that Primary Schools have been able to prioritise Yr 6 Leavers.  In fact ridiculously, Middle Schools (Yrs5-8) have had to have Yr 6 instead even though they are not leaving!

 

 

  1.                     I haven't even had to do most of the homeschooling as initially my husband was furloughed, which is lucky because my workload has gone through the roof (accounts & payroll), but I am still at home and involved.  However, neither of us is a teacher, and even with distant dreams of how lovely it could be, frankly it has often broken us, and my children have seen me screaming and losing the plot more often than I care to admit.  It has put huge pressures on the family relationship, and trying to teach two different timetables to different key stages has basically meant we haven't.  Plus it is inbuilt that children do not do what their parents tell them.  They may be a dutiful student in school, but at home they are another child!

 

 

  1.                     The school have provided guided timetables of suggested learning and links to online learning, and the odd worksheet, but nothing replaces a classroom teaching experience.  We came to dread Sunday night lesson planning as we tried to wade through what was available, and what we could actually do with the two of them at the same time, and what we needed to print, and what any of it actually means (everything has a different name to when we were at school).  As an aside, the kids have spent far more time on screens than I would normally ever be happy with.  Finally my son got 2 45min zoom lessons a week over the past 4 weeks, but they are just playing games really, but at least he has been able to properly engage, and see his friends.  More actual lessons in this format would have been good.

 

 

  1.                     I am still very concerned about the lack of social connection on the kids.  Even with new bubble rules, there is no rule that allows my children to socialise in close contact with other children outside of school.  We cannot do the two household thing because the kids just can't social distance at this age, so it is almost cruel to let them see friends but not play with them.

 

 

  1.                     I can't tell you the relief when as a Yr1 pupil, we got 1 child back in school in June, she has thrived on being back in school and with her friends. & Finally just as the school year ends, a very dedicated teacher has managed to get our Yr 4 child back in if only for a few days to say goodbye, which he is loving.  I must say that the teachers who have been in school have been amazing and dedicated, but there is only so much they can do.  Especially as there are also teachers who have not returned to work in school, and not necessarily for health reasons, just because they are quite enjoying teaching their own children at home.  In fact the only other parents I have spoken to that have actually enjoyed any of this are teachers, probably because they actually know what they are doing!
  2.                     With scientists establishing that children are the least affected by Covid-19, I am happy for the children to be in school full time, and can't imagine how anyone is going to keep their jobs or their sanity if this does not happen.  If this experience has been this hellish for us and we are in a relatively lucky position, I cannot even imagine how others have survived this.  Please, Please DO NOT lockdown schools again.   These kids are going to be paying for the consequences of this pandemic for the rest of their lives anyway, please let's not start with them paying for it with their education.

 

  1.                     Thank you for listening,

 

  1.                     P.S. I HAVE HAD TO CHOOSE PRIMARY AS THIS IS THE ONLY OPTION YOU HAVE GIVEN, BUT MY CHILDREN ARE ACTUALLY AT A 'FIRST SCHOOL'!

 

 

  1.                     My five-year old son has returned to school now. We're all so much happier.
  2.                     It's been the most stressful experience for the whole family. 
  3.                     Juggling full-time jobs and home schooling (plus caring for a 2 year-old). We tried to provide a plan, a structure, to make it fun. But there was little guidance from the school, poor communication, online learning tools played up,  lesson ideas were inconsistent and needed constant support from one of us (five year old can't really read the tasks being set). In the end, we had to formally complain to the school. We felt alone and frustrated about the lack of support.
  4.                     Curriculum workbooks were a lifeline so I could work. But it got harder each week. I'm his mum, not his teacher. His rebellion and tantrums got worse, ending in tears (from me too). Our boy who loved learning stopped wanting to learn at home.
  5.                     We stuck with it and I can see it's paid off. But I want to be just his mum again. I feel for every parent still teaching at home. Never again. Please.

 

 

  1.                     Really poor experience. One 45 min zoom class each week for about half the weeks in lockdown with the whole class for what was ultimately a chat. Group was too big. Not enough engagement. Only got to speak once. Ended up being more of a hindrance. 
  2.                     Sunday email with lots of lists of multiple apps to try and complete. Some tasks so basic Eg read this book and others a bit more depth but so many of them and not one platform to manage it all through made it challenging. 
  3.                     All seemed a bit too bitty. No strong theme that you could aim to focus on for the week. 
  4.                     Could not understand why each day couldn’t have started with a zoom to set the kids up for the day. 
  5.                     From what I have heard anecdotally private schools had whole days planned and lessons and breaks etc 

 

 

  1.                     Our school communication about the situation was good and felt caring.
  2.                     It has been very tough, whilst my child's school provided a timetable of work,  for the first 12 weeks we had two - 5 minute phonecalls from a teacher to touch base. Whilst we were aware that other schools had teachers providing zoom lessons. My kids have felt very forgotten. They are not in years R, 1 or 6 so they have not been able to return to school. My kids have always been keen learners and enjoy school so to see them be despondent about learning has been heartbreaking. If school does not start back as normal in September I think children are going to continue to suffer; where are their rights to education and being a child!

 

 

  1.                     We are sinking fast. 2 boys 10 & 7. I am at home alone all day as their dad has had to continue going into work (key Worker) I am trying to hold my job down by working from home and homeschool both boys. We started enthusiastically but as the weeks have gone on it's got harder and harder. I cried in front of the kids I am ashamed to admit. The kids have spoken their teachers once. It took until after May half term for the school to start using an online system (seesaw) and the last couple of weeks the kids are having 2 zoom lessons a week. I don't hold the school totally responsible I don't think there has been enough clear guidance for schools in terms of expectations. The risk to kids mental health is now far greater than any risk of covid. They have missed too much now and not just in terms of education. Get them back ASAP.

 

 

  1.                     Our school have provided tasks to do each week based around a theme. There hasn’t been any set tasks to compete e.g. complete this worksheet etc.  It’s more broad. The tasks cover a variety of subjects across the curriculum.  It is suggested to look at BBC Bitesize and White Rose Maths and some other websites. We have done some of them but not every week and sometimes more than others. There hasn’t been any follow up as to whether we have completed the tasks or not from school. So to be honest, we’ve not been that motivated to do them as we are juggling work around school too. 

 

 

  1.                     School have done a class zoom chat each week which has been nice. We also get a call from the class teacher weekly to check in.
  2.                     The school have sent regular work via a database called dB primary . Maths, English and craft style activities , we only do maths , English and reading and tt rockstars we can’t cope with it all ! At first we really struggled, we were doing everything using a mobile phone ! We had to write out everything by hand .. and then the school were sending so much work , we were under pressure . Then school told us not to do it all, if we couldn’t. Thankfully my work let me use my pc and we had a printer and speakers given to us ! That’s made things easier ! We don’t know how we would have coped without these additional items ! 

 

 

  1.                     In my home 4 of are working locked in rooms , thankfully I work 3 days so I have had some spare time ... my son needs constant support and encouragement to do the work , some days we argue all day, some days he will do it without a row ! gone are the days when I did housework ! I just sit in a room either working or helping my son !!! When I work he has to sit in his room , normally playing fortnite or watching u tube . Fortnite means he can at least engage with other children ... but it’s not good enough ... we know this .. but what can we do ?! We have to earn money , and he needs to socialise ! I am really worried about him , his lack of interest , his friendship groups are deminishing , no football training , no cubs no nothing ... not healthy for a child of ten !!  Our school has not even taken back year 6 s yet it’s a large primary with excellent outdoor space , yet others in the area have ? How can each school be allowed to behave so differently ?? There are even schools that have taken year 5 s back in Sidcup ... we have had one ten minute zoom call with his teacher !! She now says she can’t respond to their emails because she is in school ... an utter disgrace ... the young people of this country MUST be put before everyone else it is the right thing to do ... it must be the governments top priority

 

 

  1.                     We have two children in primary school, Y2 and Y5.  We are both working parents.  The experience of homeschooling has been difficult to say the least.  The resources provided by the school were less structured, and much more cumbersome than if an individual family chose to simply follow a prepared homeschooling resource available on the internet.  In many cases, there was little learning and the work felt like busywork; but it kept the parents as busy (if not busier) than the child.  There was also work on topics that were simply not taught at all, leaving the parent no choice but to fully prepare a lesson on the topic.  This has tested the parent-child relationship to a breaking point times.  There was also no differentiation between learning abilities and levels in the work provided, meaning a child could be faced with impossibly difficult work (at the great expense of their confidence) or much too easy work (leading to boredom and disinterest with homeschooling).
  2.                     More significantly, the homeschooling experience has destroyed some basic principles that we have worked hard to instill in our children all of their lives:

1)      Children are the most important thing to us and we value spending time with them above all else.  Two working parents and impossibly disorganised home schooling resources provided by the school has lead to the destruction of our childrens confidence in themselves, as we are overstressed, exhausted, and cannot possibly devote to them the time that they need.  My 7 year old - generally a well-behaved, well adapted child - has had serious bouts of aggression. Tellingly, she has several times shouted "What has happened to the fun and the play around here?"

2)      Their education is very important.  My 10 year old has told us that looking out her window every morning watching Reception and Year 1 children going to school has made her very sad. She wants to know why their education is more important than hers.

 

 

  1.                     We have tried everything.  Trying to help our children in their learning in the limited time we have has been disasterous.  Leaving the learning aside and letting the children tend to themselves all day results in rapidly declining behaviour with a level of physical fighting  between siblings we have not seen before.  My 7 year old is particuarly affected - having not spent any time with a peer, and the youngest in the household, her confidence in her abilities is completely shot.
  2.                     My husband is at a breaking point and feels he could lose his job (he is the main breadwinner) if schools do not remain fully open in September.  I am exhausted beyond words and barely have time to get dressed every day, as am completing much of my work during early morning hours and weekends, and trying to manage the children during the day.. this would be a challenging situation for a month; we are approaching 6 months to September and close to a breaking point now.  If this goes on until September, something big will have to give.  I fear that my girls could need years to recover - not just educationally, but emotionally - forget about the state of the parents.
  3.                     This is just about us.  We have friends where the situation is significantly worse - a 10 year old not being able to leave her home and a 6 year old who has stopped talking entirely.

 

 

  1.                     The return to school must be a full return, with equality in treatment of ALL children.  If school opens, ALL children must be treated equally.  The education and mental health of a child (or year group) is NOT less important that another child's (or another year group).  IF there is another lockdown and/or homeschooling is utliised, resources that are organised and respect the parent's time with ACTIVE teaching, designed for children of various learning abilities MUST be provided.  That may sound like an impossible task for the schools, but up until now, it is only the parents that have been dealt the impossible. this must stop.

 

 

  1.                     Amazing amount of well thought out materials. Lots of pre-recorded videos of teachers reading, teaching specific bits of the curriculum.  Online feedback from teachers using Tapestry. 
  2.                     But, my daughter misses school and doesn't want home to be school so has engaged with very little of the material but has loved the opportunity to follow her own interests.

 

 

  1.                     Very challenging with two full time working parents and a year 4 daughter. As a single child she has veered between sad and angry and occasionally positive about the situation and school homework. The arguments are becoming more frequent and there is nothing we can do to make up for her missing her friends and social interaction with her peers. My wife feels guilty at not being able to do work and schooling properly and we are both frustrated at the lack of understanding among work colleagues, politicians and teaching unions. Our family and home life has significantly deteriorated and soon there will be 6 weeks with even less structure for our daughter and us having to take time off separately to look after her to cover this period

 

 

  1.                     Home schooling and working full time has been nigh on impossible. My 7 year old is at a private school which has not offered online learning to its primary children (only to the senior school). This has put all the onerous on parents to educate their children. Holding down a full time job and doing effective home schooling has meant long days working and feeling like I am constantly sending my child out of the room. I don't blame the government for this, it didn't want to close school, it was hysteria spread by social media and the general media which caused this. Then teaching unions and local government bureaucracy have deliberately made it difficult for children to return by using them as pawns in their own political agenda.

 

 

  1.                     Children MUST GO BACK IN SEPTEMBER for their own educational and emotional needs.
  2.                     Lack of help with a child that fulls within SEND. My child suffers from dyslexia and separation anxiety. No thought has been put into this by my child’s school.
  3.                     My child is going to struggle mentally once they return and the affects it’s had on my child’s education is scary to think about. With only 1 year left at primary school my child has fallen so much more behind ( she was already over a year behind educational).
  4.                     Weekly list of suggested activities from school. Oak Academy, Purple Mash and school topics suggested.

 

 

  1.                     Very much encouraged to prioritize wellbeing - but this means no accountability. Makes it much harder to get kids to do the work as it’s not being marked - teachers aren’t asking for it.
  2.                     No online learning from the school. No online learning portal for kids to submit work.
  3.                     Email address for teacher. Very responsive but not very visual or motivating for kids.
  4.                     One phone call from teacher - would have had more if requested. Teacher is working her socks off - teaching a hub of 15 in school and responding on email to her actual class.

 

 

  1.                     Contact from Senco as my son is struggling emotionally. Begged for him to go back to school in June but told school is full - priority for key workers and vulnerable kids - not kids with special needs.
  2.                     Breadth of work set has been good but parents have to deliver and supervise the curriculum - my son has just turned 7. He is not motivated to do the work himself and it has created so much upset and tension. Parents are not teachers and home is not school. I also have a toddler at home providing constant distraction and needing supervision and with her own needs and emotional difficulties.
  3.                     My husband is working full-time from home. I am freelancing a few hours a month. I was hoping to increase this after Easter when my daughter started three days a week at nursery but they have both been at home since schools closed.
  4.                     Unfortunately it is those with the loudest voices who have had the government’s ear. Unions/Pubs/etc.Parents - and children - have been totally disenfranchised and expected to get on with it. Families are suffering immensely - emotionally and financially. The summer holidays are now stretching ahead and we have no guarantee that our children will be back in education come September. We are at breaking point. 
  5.                     Also can I make a point about key workers. Our school has taken in a lot of key worker kids. There was a mad scramble come June to get places and prove yourself to be a key worker. The definition seems to be broad and It feels some firms have been happy to stretch the truth when it comes to verifying people as key workers. When the crisis first kicked off and we were all ordered to stay at home, then of course children of nurses and supermarket workers should have been accommodated in schools. Now everyone is expected to be back at work the government needs to review the key worker policy and its definition. Please keep it for people who are on the frontline - not anyone who works in a vaguely related key industry who can find a loop hole. It’s so unfair to the working families whose children are still at home and make it so much harder to keep struggling on when you know half the school is back in.

 

 

  1.                     Very very tough working full time still from home and trying to home educate or generally just taking care and occupying my children. Feel as though I’m doing neither job well, all the time. Very lucky to have 2 laptops but very challenging trying to fit in work and concentrate while kids are home.
  2.                     It's been positive overall, but we are lucky as key workers doing 3/4 day weeks.  So our son was able to attend his school (right next to our house) for 2 days a week under the key worker scheme, and then do home-schooling on the other days with us.  Crucially, while we weren't trying to work at the same time, as that would have been impossible!  But our school has been brilliant, with weekly programmes, outline timetables, and lots of resources provided - plus a weekly call with the class teacher for questions/feedback.  So it's been an interesting experience, something he will hopefully remember, and some nice bonding time.  But he's very happy to be back in school for these last 2 weeks of the year, to help prepare for Sept.

 

 

  1.                     My children’s school and their teachers have been absolutely phenomenal in supporting my children during school closure. They have provided work through an online classroom, responded to queries, given extra advice when I have asked for it, and continued to provide the feeling of a community through assemblies, music uploads, teacher messages and so on.

 

 

  1.                     Yes on some days and in some ways home schooling has been phenomenally difficult, particularly combining it with working. In particular families with limited access to technology and outside space must have suffered hugely. But I know many schools and individual teachers have gone above and beyond to support those families  giving hours of their own time, and at their own expense often while dealing with their own family difficulties. Teachers are also heroic key workers, who have done their best and often placed themselves in harms way and should not be criticised in any way (and no I’m not a teacher!)

 

 

  1.                     Schools have had to come up with a system at incredibly short notice, and have had no advance notice of changes to government plans or polices and lockdown has progressed. How they have managed at all I do not know. They must not be the scapegoats here.

 

 

  1.                     My daughter is in y7, in a main steam school but has serve disabilities and needs a carer with her at all times. Therefore there is no option for letting her play on her own or do work unsupported. Nursing support in the day has stopped because the team would have to wear impractical levels of PPE. We have had support from carers we directly employ when they were not isolating or if their other work allowed for this. Until the past few days we have also been shielding so even getting fresh air had been limited. The school have been great at setting work and giving emotional support and for the past few weeks there has been 1 live lesson a day. At the start there was a flurry of options and then it settled into a routine, but there were so many new systems and access points to get used to. I spent quite a few evenings working out what we were meant to be doing! My daughter is lucky in that she has  an adult to help her learn (if we understand it!) but I don’t know how kids could do lots of this independently. My husband and I have also had to continue working from home and looking after two other children who should have been taking GCSEs and A’levels. We play tag, I do caring and school from 7.30am til 1pm and then get my laptop out to work and he works in the morning and does school and caring 1-6pm, when I finish working. Thankfully our employees are understanding and constructive, we also have a big enough house and enough IT kit to meet all the demands. I hate to think how much harder it would be without this... Balancing and juggling has been the hardest part. It has been possible while it was a crisis, but it is not sustainable.

 

 

 

  1.                     We have two boys aged 9yrs and 6yrs (school years 4 and 1). We have many advantages, two parents whose employer has been responsive and flexible and we only have 1.5 WTE hours to cover between us. We live in a semi-detached house with a garden and a small home office so one adult can lock themselves away to work. But we have found this experience absolutely exhausting. I was very anxious when lockdown was announced and we knew the schools would be closing. I stormed out of the house and walked round the block in the rain, crying and panicking about how I would cope. And I was right to be anxious. Trying to combine the roles of teacher and parent has been so hard, trying to maintain my children's motivation, watching their willingness to engage in activities (certainly anything that involved writing) ebbing away. The arguments have been heartbreaking. I never felt able to sit back and say "they will learn life skills through baking, and being outside" because I felt so worried that they would find it really hard to go back to formal learning if we stopped everything. We did enjoy sessions baking and going for walks, but any time like that was accompanied by the nagging worry that we also had paid work to keep on top of. Prior to lockdown, I've always been happy with the boys' school (a large state primary school on the edge of the city) but in the first couple of months of lockdown I felt let down. The resources we were signposted to had little in the way of structure and with all the other pressures on my time, the last thing I had capacity for was trawling through a dozen websites to work out a days schooling for two pupils. We ended up defaulting to Oak Academy for a structured maths and English lesson for each of them daily, and then tried to offer them some other bits picked from the school suggestions. In the last 3-4 weeks the school have really improved, providing a 3-4 minute video for each day and some more structured English and maths activities assigned to each day of the week. I feel frustrated it took them this long to get to that point, as they are a large school with 3 teachers per year and even staff shielding at home could have helped with the provision of remote learning. The other frustration was the fragmented and unclear communication about when pupils in reception, Yr 1 and He 6 could return. We got the impression that we were an inconvenience for asking for information. On the flip side, my youngest son in Year 1 has had a really positive experience since returning to school, and they've done lots to help the children settle back in to school and provide them with a rich curriculum. My children's behaviour has definitely suffered, particularly my 6yr old who has suffered massive violent tantrums, smashing up things all over the house. I understand the need for the lockdown, but when people reflect on it as a time of growth with space to take up new activities, I feel so sad that we've struggled our way through and I worry I have damaged my relationship with my children and my husband.

 

 

  1.                     Exhausting! We have two boys and both working parents. Neither of us have been able to be furloughed and we’re not classified as key workers so we have had to juggle homeschooling alongside work. We have had one phone call from each of the teachers throughout the whole period. Three work tasks are set on a daily basis provided by the school website. For my eldest who is in year 4 he has really struggled with the English side as he doesn’t enjoy writing, and this half term he has become very disengage. I have had to look elsewhere to help gets some engagement back and set tasks for him to do. For my youngest son the work has been so basic I’ve again looked elsewhere to give him more of a challenge. It’s also noticeable that they were be becoming more despondent as time went on from not being able to interact with children of their own age. Sounds like such a small thing but if the school would have agreed to a virtual class quiz once a week about what they should of learnt over the week it would have given them more of a reason to do the work, as well as an enjoyment factor to be able to see and interact with classmates and realise that the world is still living. We’ve questioned why they won’t use virtual class rooms and are told that it’s because teachers are in school, but in the business world we have all taken to virtual meetings. In the case of school those children who aren’t allowed a place should be invited into a class room virtually, all the technology is out there for this, I just don’t understand why the school is so behind. I am dreading September, I hope they go back but if/when the next waves hits us, I feel our kids education is massively at risk.  I am not sure how much more stamina we have either to endure the ridiculously long hours we have to spend on a daily basis to ensure homeschooling is done, alongside completing our own workloads to maintain our jobs and general household chores.

 

 

  1.                     Have had an absolute nightmare. Two of us working full time with jobs with significant responsibilities. Secondary school have been brilliant with keeping year 7 daughter engaged, with mixture of interactive work. Primary school have done very little. Year 5 son felt like he was working in a vacuum. Not one piece of work marked, or looked at. Work uninspiring too. Maybe 6 phone calls home over entire period. 

 

 

  1.                     Feel like I’ve failed at my job as mum & as teacher & in my professional life too 😫

 

 

  1.                     Home schooling has been a success thanks to the school. The learning platforms were set up quickly and the teachers have been using them to set work. Teachers set, check and mark work daily and give plenty of feedback. The school have also done weekly zoom calls for each class which my children have loved. A very positive experience, thanks SMCS!

 

 

  1.                     I have been working at home managing a caseload of violent offenders, hubby has been out working for the Police. We have two children 6 and 9. Both have struggled without seeing their friends and have lacked enthusiasm for school work during this time. I have done my best but the standard of work set by school has been pretty dire, withnumerous log ins and links to twinkle worksheets. The children require constant supervision and guidance so I have had to focus on them one at a time. By the time we have logged on their interest has been dwindling. In the end o spent around £100 on my own workbooks and used these to set the children work each day as it was much easier to sustain and the quality of the work was better.  I also made the decision to focus doleyonmaths and english. I havent had time to run activities such as making Egyptian masks! The only way I could manage was to work 6 til 2 daily and then educate the kids following this. Meaning stupidly long days for me and children running wild whilst I am conference calls to childrens services or service users. My working hours have more or less finished me off with me scraping by on around 5 hours sleep a night.

 

  1.                     Kids have gone to school as #keyworkers children over the last few weeks but prior to this the school were actively discouraging us sending them in.The improvement in the kids mental wellbeing since their return to school is immense and I feel grateful I have the option. I do think as #keyworkers my kids have suffered as I have been so busy.

 

 

  1.                     We have managed an hour a day schoolwork maximum.
  2.                     Home schooling with 2 different primary aged children and also a toddler to attend to by myself, whilst my husband tries to find a quiet place in the house to work full time, has been extremely difficult. I haven't been able to give any child proper attention, I have had to flit between each child without feeling I am giving any of them the time they deserve. The television has been used as a babysitter for a very high proportion of time whilst I try to load different online videos, print out many sheets and spend time trying to make sure the school work has been at least looked at. Although little actual teaching has happened, my children just fill in worksheet after worksheet to which there is probably little point but in some ways makes me feel a little like we are doing something. The lack of exercise they have done is appalling but difficult around the demands of 2 different year groups school work, meal times, toddler needs and household tasks. I feel like I am drowning with it all most days. The toddler has struggled with lack of routine and activities. The older children are fed up and miserable, with one child angry and tearful over the situation and often aggressively refusing to complete work set by school. The stress of feeling completely responsible for their education and what they may be missing out on learning and experiencing is torture on a daily basis. The feelings of failure and inadequacy of being able to provide effectively for all three of my children's education needs is huge. This is all from a parent who is actually a trained primary school teacher!

 

 

  1.                     I work as a lawyer in a highly stressful job and have a one year old three year old and a seven year old. Whilst work have been sympathetic and allowed me to reduce my working day by an hour the juggle of trying to do my job and home school has been extremely difficult. This is compounded by the fact that I am trying to look after 2 young children whilst trying to teach my child. He is understandably distracted by his younger siblings who are running around or watching TV. This is not a conducive environment for him to work in. Getting him to concentrate and engage is difficult enough but having young children around and balancing my work makes it almost impossible. I just cannot see how this situation is sustainable in September. As a short term solution to keep children ‘ticking over’ it has been difficult enough but when children need to be developing and progressing in September in new year groups it seems impossible.

 

 

  1.                     The work sent from school varies from teacher to teacher with one setting 22 pieces of work online in 14 weeks and only marking 3. We have no idea what progression she has made and I have today received a 1 page report on her with a one word description for each subject of her progress up until ths end of March 2020. When I called the school to question this I was told they will not be issuing end of year reports as this would be unfair to those children who have not completed any work in the last 14 weeks. But apparently it is fair to provide my child with absolutely no feedback on her hard work completing every piece of work sent to her. And as her parent I  have no clue as to how she has ended her time in year 8.  As a mother of 2 school age children, working full time from home being trained in a completely new role by my employer, with a husband working full time out of the home has been overwhelmingly difficult. It is not acceptable to make your children wait 6 hours before you can log off work to help them with their school work, they are alone and isolated for a huge part of the day, feeling worried and missing their friends and concerned they are falling behind with school work. They are too tired and unmotivated by  3 or 4pm when I can finally spend time with them to complete school work and more importantly they want mum by that point not teacher mum. The thought of this continuing into Autumn term is frightening and hugely concerning to me. Nobody could work under these conditions long term. It is ruining my mental health and my relationship with my children. My nephew who attends Private school has 4 interactive lessons with his teachers per day and has done so since lockdown. My child has had 1 live lesson with her English teacher in 14 weeks. The gulf between state and private education is about to expand enormously. Our government needs understand the massive injustice to children this situation is causing. There needs to be more funding into education before giving ridiculous amounts of money to home insulation schemes.

 

 

  1.                     For the duration of lockdown the quality of work sent out from school has been very poor, only including maths and a “topic sheet” which has no education in, simply ideas of things to write or do, like “invent a potion”. After several weeks it was found that the same Topic sheet was being sent to every year group in school.  There was little to no contact for a long period at the start of lockdown, unless we sent emails regarding our child’s work.
  2.                     I therefore decided that as my son was very keen to learn I’d equip us with better materials, topics and quality as I suspected we’d be in this for the long term. To cut the story short, I am so disillusioned with the state of the National Curriculum, and so shocked at the gaps in his knowledge (for example, being told that he knows certain times tables for their key stage when he does not, and not knowing how to look things up alphabetically) that we’ve now decided to home educate our son from September onwards, and have deregistered from school. I do not believe that the current guidelines for education that schools are made to follow provide an efficient learning experience suitable to their age and ability. In a strange way I’m thankful to lockdown and having to homeschool to open my eyes to the state of education in this country.

 

 

  1.                     The standard of work set was brilliant, the school used google classroom to set 4 maths and English tasks each week and also topic work inc science, history and geography. Work was uploaded to google classroom and feedback given which boosted my childs confidence. The work set followed the curriculum the school would usually follow.

 

 

  1.                     Child is in reception and whilst they have followed a weekly schedule of setting tasks, it has been hard to engage my child in them. It has been nothing like the learning through play experience they would have experienced at school, and even as an intelligent adult given my lack of teacher training I am not able to provide that environment. They have also missed out on the social development side, and even now they’re back in school they’re in a small bubble and I think it’s still lacking. I feel the school has done its best and my work have been supportive of the fact I cannot work and look after two under 6’s but my reception age child has definitely not progressed as much as she should.
  2.                     I have 2 children in primary school. One of them is in year 1 and so has returned to school. The other is in year 3 and is still at home. I also have a 2 year old at home whose nursery has now permanently closed due to coronavirus. 

 

 

  1.                     My year 2 child found home learning particularly difficult. She had a glowing school report but at home she was unmotivated and difficult. She became withdrawn and we were worried about her. I did not have any calls from her teacher as there was no online learning. The home learning was generally not very interesting and very repetitive. 
  2.                     My year 3 child coped a little better but his school work has also not been interesting and not challenging enough for him. Despite being streamed at school, all the kids were given the same work. Again, there was no online learning. He did have one brief call from his teacher. 
  3.                     I don’t understand why the Children couldn’t have some video call lessons, although I do understand that some families may not have the correct resources. 

 

 

  1.                     I want the children back in school not just for their education, but for their mental health. It is difficult for me to teach them when I have a 2 year old to look after. None of us are happy with the situation.
  2.                     The teachers have been brilliant with their communication with parents and providing support when needed. They have gone above and beyond in their work and care of the children during this time. Unfortunately the government has cut funding to schools so much that it will be impossible for schools to socially distance in September.

 

 

  1.                     The school have been fantastic at trying to maintain some contact with each of the children in the class through brief phone calls on a weekly basis. However, being a small village school with combined classes this frequency has dropped as year 1 children have returned to school whilst the year 2 children have remained at home, thus this delicate balance has been lost as it is impossible for the teacher to both teach a class and contact those children who are at home in the same working hours. No doubt this is the case in many other small school who also have shared year group classes and I feel it is unlikely the government at any point has consider that one teacher may be teaching multiple year groups and thus further disadvantaging some children as contact with school is reduced. This fact aside our experience with the work set by the school has been consistent throughout the lockdown duration. They ensured sufficient work was set for the first three weeks of lockdown, whilst they found their feet with distance learning and the provision of online resources. On the whole they have provided a range of short and easy to complete tasks in maths and English, with some direction for other subjects given. Again, the return of half the class back to the classroom has affected the frequency and range of work which has been provided as the class teachers are now trying to provide both in class and online resources. However, it must be noted that the school have consistently provided responses and feedback to the work we have uploaded, which had helped our son to feel like he is still interacting with his class teacher to some extent. Although the school have done their upmost to provide work and support throughout lockdown, the actual process of homeschooling has created a lot of upset in the household. Our son loves learning and school but does not enjoy learning at home, as parents we lack patience, thus the lack of engagement from our son creates a negative atmosphere which affects us throughout the day. At 6 years old our son will not and understandably cannot learn purely independently, thus without a parent watching over him constantly the work will not get done. This makes completion of our own work much harder, as it is almost impossible to combine the two successful. My husband works in a job that involves an almost continuous stream of calls, which cannot be held with a 6 year old in the background, thus homeschooling has predominantly fallen on my shoulders. For myself this has meant trying to juggle homeschooling, completing a full time PhD write up, a part time job as a dissertation supervisor and second marker for higher education students and continuing to carry out all the household duties required to keep a home functioning. There have been times during this lockdown when I have felt like I am trying to maintain 4 jobs simultaneously, without any down time. This has had a serious impact on my mental wellbeing, I have felt both overwhelmed and incapable of doing anything successful at one time or another. Then there is the guilt that I have felt at doing the bare minimum to keep my son’s education progressing to some extent whilst ensuring I can meet deadlines at work or for my PhD. Similarly, I have felt like a complete failure in providing enough of education for my son and horrific guilt at our almost daily arguments and battles to complete at least some work. My son’s behaviour has deteriorated as he has spent more time away from school and his peers, his misses his friends terribly and cannot fully comprehend why he cannot see them and spend time playing with them. Home feels less like the happy, nurturing, fun environment that it was before lockdown, the dining room table is now a place of unhappiness and arguments rather than craft and fun.

 

 

  1.                     I am so disappointed in the support (or lack there of), from my childrens primary school. 
  2.                     I was asked to use the seesaw system which I got to grips with eventually. However, despite the opportunity to upload short lessons this did not happen. Links to other resources were used but lacked clarity and instruction that would have been recieved from an actual teacher. I contacted the teacher to say my daughter had spent several days in tears over maths and that the site we were referred to did not help her to understand. Simply returning worksheets with no teaching is a complete waste of time! I was told they would look for something to help her, they did not. In the last month they said they did not have the time to mark work so not only were we asked to take on teaching lessons but the marking aswell. I am left at a loss as to what they have actually done other than send a list of work each week for us to complete and mark. As parents we were asked to step up as teachers but I see no support or understanding from the schools as to what this has meant for the child and the parent . There will be gaps in their knowledge and I worry how this will be addressed, or if it will at all, on the return to school. Not to mention the mental health impact on or children. Plus sending them back full time in September after months of. 

 

 

  1.                     I have to say I am left angry, frustrated and disappointed.
  2.                     work has been set and emailed home each morning. however, no consideration is given as to how to manage that and to undertake your work at the same time.

 

 

  1.                     The work sent from school has at times been too advanced with no guidance or tips on how to explain to your child. The guidance was always do what you can but in reality the guilt I have felt of not providing adequate teaching has been overwhelming. As a mother of 2 school age children, working full time from home being trained in a completely new role by my employer, with a husband working full time out of the home has been overwhelmingly difficult. It is not acceptable to make your children wait 6 hours before you can log off work to help them, they are alone and isolated for a huge part of the day, feeling worried and missing their friends and concerned they are falling behind with school work. They are too tired and unmotivated by  3 or 4pm when I can finally spend time with them to complete school work and more importantly they want mum by that point not teacher mum. The thought of this continuing into Autumn term is frightening and hugely concerning to me. Nobody could work under these conditions long term. It is ruining my mental health and my relationship with my children.

 

 

  1.                     My nephew who attends Private school has 4 interactive lessons with his teachers per day and has done so since lockdown. My child has had 1 phone call from his class teacher in 14 weeks. The gulf between state and private education is about to expand enormously. Please put more funding into education before ridiculous amounts of money given to home insulation.

 

 

  1.                     I have 2 children in year 3 and year 8. The secondary school have been putting work through relentlessly with no break at Easter or half term, 6-7 pieces of work per day with deadlines of between 2-7 days. My child has been sat EVERY day at the table working by 9am. My child is on the autism spectrum and there has been no support either pastorally or academically. My other child is in year 3, everyday she has got spag, literacy, maths, topic, reading and times tables. I work from home normally anyway but we only have one laptop between us all, that isn't the problem, the problem is there is only one of me. Who do you prioritise? My work is getting done well into the evening and past midnight, 6 hours plus with my secondary school child and 2hours plus with the primary school child whose beautiful handwriting is now a spider crawl. It's not sustainable.

 

 

  1.                     We have two children aged 7&9 and have been juggling work and homeschooling since the beginning of lockdown.  I have been working full time hours (From home) in a job that has become more demanding and pressured since March 23rd. My husbands core business is in hospitality and took a significant hit halting much of his work although he is working 3 days per week away from home. For 2 days a week he is able to homeschool and then I try and pick up what I can before and after school, or on weekends. It’s absolutely exhausting and feels like there is no time to recuperate and recharge which is taking more and more of a toll on us all. The kids are becoming more and more bored of the tasks we have to do, and we’re running out of ideas to make things interesting. My husband struggles to have the patience required to teach them too which leads to flare ups daily and I worry about them all emotionally. As a result I’m becoming more stressed as it interrupt my work and requires me to intervene.  I’m constantly having to check in to see how it’s going and help deal with tantrums. When my husband is at work I have to leave the kids to their own devices. I’ve tried games to get them to do tasks and school work whilst I’m working but it just hasn’t worked. The kids end up getting in a fight, loosing interest and just jumping on any electrical device they can find. Sometimes they decide to ‘get creative’ and I come down stairs to paint all over my house, floor, furniture that has left me in tears as I work constantly to keep everything in order. My lunch breaks are busy with me frantically running around tidying up the mess that’s been made, trying to get the kids to help, feeding them and attempting to get them onto some bbc bite size or computer based learning. I’ll then dash back upstairs to try and continue my work. This all makes me feel absolutely terrible. I don’t want my kids to be in the situation. I feel like I am completely neglecting them and failing as a mother but if I don’t do my job,  I could loose my income and won’t be able to pay our massive mortgage. With my husbands business loosing a massive chunk of annual revenue the pressure for me to keep earning is immense and it is extremely stressful. It doesn’t feel like there is any let up and any real support. The uncertainty of what will happen over the coming months with schooling (what days, what time’s, if there’s going to be aftercare) is frustrating and I am really not sure how mentally and physically we as a family can keep this up. I’d like some real concrete plans on how working families can be better supported through the pandemic, because at the moment as far as I’m concerned - we’ve been left high and dry by the government and businesses.

 

 

  1.                     One of the worst experiences of my life. It takes about 2 hours of encouragement, tears, bribing, begging to get started on school work, 10 minutes after starting he won’t do anymore. He has become angry and aggressive and he is only 7. He wont sleep, schools attitude is shut up and get on with it. I’m self employed and cannot work from home (gardener) it is diabolical situation. I’m in tears everyday, my little boy is in tears every day.

 

 

  1.                     Home schooling has been extremely difficult and a real strain on the family. Trying to juggle working from home, home schooling and looking after a 2 year old on my own has left me exhausted and feeling like a complete failure. Feedback from my son's teacher has been limited and the setting of work has relied on me having access to the internet, a tablet/camera and a printer.

 

 

  1.                     Home schooling/online learning is doing fine and we find our child is learning more everyday and positive. and actually we would prefer homeschooling /online learning, due to the uncertainty of covid 19!

 

 

  1.                     The work that has been set by the school was primarily revision of what they had done in school.  The children got bored of this very quickly as the work was not interactive or exciting.   Children like to be challenged, they also need an adukt to engage wity them and provide reassurance and feedback. It has been tough juggling and not being a teacher its hard to understnd the objective at times   The work put online by yhe bbc bitesize has been fzr more engaging and interesting and the children have preferred it.  They have also completed it without meltdowns or tantrums. Comparing our school to others has highlighted how behind the times they are in providing educational provion.

 

 

  1.                     My husband and I have been working full-time at home since the schools closed in March. We have 2 children, aged 11 and 8 (year 6 and year 3). We are both educated to degree level, and we are lucky to have resources and the ability to support our children with their education.

 

  1.                     But 16 weeks of trying to do everything has taken its toll. I am not able to meet my professional commitments. My motivation for my job - senior level at a university - has all but disappeared because I’ve not been able to do it properly. I have needed, and wanted, to be there for my children. But at what cost? My employers have been fantastic, but the last 4 months have made it clear that my children come first. I’m not naive enough to think there won’t be a long term impact for women like me whose availability and capability to meet professional responsibilities have been compromised. And yes, some men will have been impacted, but it will mainly be women.

 

  1.                     And for my children’s education and wellbeing? My 11 year spent the first 12 weeks of lockdown waking up with panic attacks most nights. He was inconsolable, seeing images, hot and sweaty, unable to calm down. Most nights for 12 weeks. The impact on him, and on me and his dad, was considerable. On the day I could tell him he was able to go back to school, the night wakings and panic attacks stopped completely. He was calm and happy and relaxed again. Being back at school has changed him back to the boy he was before. He is seeing friends, he is having input from professional teachers and he feels safe and secure. To be fair to his school - a middle school in a 3 tier system - they have done their very best with clear work set daily, support through google classrooms and phone calls when needed. They have communicated regularly and clearly, and really worked outside their comfort zones to do the best they can.

 

  1.                     My daughter hasn’t been back to her first school. Maths work and a home project have been posted on the school website once a week. There was no other input from her teachers for 11 weeks, when they started sharing weekly assemblies and teachers reading stories on YouTube. My daughter was so thrilled to have this - but I do think it came too late. We’ve had one phone call from her teacher in the 16 weeks since schools closed. We emailed in some completed work and received an email response a few days later. It’s not been anywhere near enough to keep her engaged and provide the support both she and I need. My daughter is quite a hardy child who doesn’t show her feelings often. But when writing about her favourite place in town for schoolwork, she chose her school. She wrote a paragraph about why this was, ending it “I wouldn’t be me without my school”. She’s feeling lost and uncertain, and worried about her future. No 8 year old should feel that way, and I do think the lack of interaction with school plays a part in this. 

 

  1.                     I spend my Sunday evenings planning the work for my daughter each day, using a combination of the school maths, Oak National, BBC bitesize, duolingo and Twinkl resources. I need her to be busy all day so I can work. We are paying for a weekly online tutor, and a subscription to Mathletics to keep her interested and challenged. I have always loved my daughter’s school, but I have felt very let down during school closure. I know this is a completely unprecedented situation and none of us have done everything perfectly. But I do feel that parents have just been expected to get on with it, without the support we’ve really needed. Whether this is the fault of the school, the local authority, the government - I don’t know. I just know that it’s been incredibly hard.’

 

  1.                     ‘My husband and I have been working full-time at home since the schools closed in March. We have 2 children, aged 11 and 8 (year 6 and year 3). We are both educated to degree level, and we are lucky to have resources and the ability to support our children with their education.

 

  1.                     But 16 weeks of trying to do everything has taken its toll. I am not able to meet my professional commitments. My motivation for my job - senior level at a university - has all but disappeared because I’ve not been able to do it properly. I have needed, and wanted, to be there for my children. But at what cost? My employers have been fantastic, but the last 4 months have made it clear that my children come first. I’m not naive enough to think there won’t be a long term impact for women like me whose availability and capability to meet professional responsibilities have been compromised. And yes, some men will have been impacted, but it will mainly be women.
  2.                     And for my children’s education and wellbeing? My 11 year spent the first 12 weeks of lockdown waking up with panic attacks most nights. He was inconsolable, seeing images, hot and sweaty, unable to calm down. Most nights for 12 weeks. The impact on him, and on me and his dad, was considerable. On the day I could tell him he was able to go back to school, the night wakings and panic attacks stopped completely. He was calm and happy and relaxed again. Being back at school has changed him back to the boy he was before. He is seeing friends, he is having input from professional teachers and he feels safe and secure. To be fair to his school - a middle school in a 3 tier system - they have done their very best with clear work set daily, support through google classrooms and phone calls when needed. They have communicated regularly and clearly, and really worked outside their comfort zones to do the best they can.’

 

  1.                     ‘My daughter hasn’t been back to her first school. Maths work and a home project have been posted on the school website once a week. There was no other input from her teachers for 11 weeks, when they started sharing weekly assemblies and teachers reading stories on YouTube. My daughter was so thrilled to have this - but I do think it came too late. We’ve had one phone call from her teacher in the 16 weeks since schools closed. We emailed in some completed work and received an email response a few days later. It’s not been anywhere near enough to keep her engaged and provide the support both she and I need. My daughter is quite a hardy child who doesn’t show her feelings often. But when writing about her favourite place in town for schoolwork, she chose her school. She wrote a paragraph about why this was, ending it “I wouldn’t be me without my school”. She’s feeling lost and uncertain, and worried about her future. No 8 year old should feel that way, and I do think the lack of interaction with school plays a part in this. 

 

  1.                     I spend my Sunday evenings planning the work for my daughter each day, using a combination of the school maths, Oak National, BBC bitesize, duolingo and Twinkl resources. I need her to be busy all day so I can work. We are paying for a weekly online tutor, and a subscription to Mathletics to keep her interested and challenged. I have always loved my daughter’s school, but I have felt very let down during school closure. I know this is a completely unprecedented situation and none of us have done everything perfectly. But I do feel that parents have just been expected to get on with it, without the support we’ve really needed. Whether this is the fault of the school, the local authority, the government - I don’t know. I just know that it’s been incredibly hard.’

 

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have a 7 and 4 year old, my four year old has been back at private nursery since the 1st June and wow this came just when we needed it. He is so happy there however I am so worried about his transition to reception in September and if they delay the reception start this will completely screw parents, unless the government still allow funding for them to be kept in the private nursery setting until reception is fully open.
  2.                     My 7 Year old is a sensitive soul and in the first few weeks I think it did him the world of good to have some down time, although the home schooling we stopped a few weeks ago as the fall outs were damaging his mental health and mine. We have a good selection of work provided by school but he’s just lost all motivation. Instead I now pay for two hours of tutoring for him at a private educator for maths and English to make sure he is working at the level he should be and so he doesn’t fall behind. This however can not compensate for being in the school environment with his friends.
  3.                     I’ve been lucky enough to be furloughed during this time but I do have friends who are both working who don’t fall into the keyworker category and are absolutely at the end of their minds with the pressure of full time jobs and looking after their children for 14 weeks, it’s this cohort of people I really feel for they are doing their best but it’s hard, it’s hard enough when furloughed Never mind if I was trying to work full time.
  4.                     There are also family’s at our school who have claimed keyworker status when they clearly are stay at home parents who just happen to be registered as an employee on their spouses business.  Our  school know this and they have not done anything to rectify this situation. So these situations really do bring out the best and worst in people and families are being turned against each other in this really unfair situation especially when another child is deemed more important than another.
  5.                     I worry for our children I worry they won’t have a plan on the 31st August and I worry that they will never emotionally recover from this situation. Children love school it provides a stability and place of learning that just Can’t be achieved at home.
  6.                     Our government have failed our children, they should have made them the next priority after the NHS, they should have worked with the events sector to get temporary classrooms (tents /shelters) onto school fields, or partnered with the construction industry to get mobile classrooms on to school sites for September, this was all achievable if they had put this into action on week 3 and not 15. 
  7.                     I just feel the schools haven’t been solution focussed and just provided the brick wall of no. Parents would have happily contributed time and resource to get our children back to school.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have really struggled with home schooling, it's impacted on all of us. At times I've been in tears trying to teach my son, getting angry with him and having to keep telling myself it is not his fault. My partner has been going out to work, I've had to work at home part time and trying to home school, this was impossible and I decided not to put pressure on me or my son, otherwise we would just be stressed about it. The school have sent work to download, I found this difficult to access and print out, by the time I did this I was exhausted. The work was extremely dry and unstimulating. I was asked to upload work, however no guidance was given on how to do this, therefore I did not send anything in. I had one e mail from the school asking me to contact them but no support given. Zoom lessons have recently started, no guidance on how to use zoom and I've had issues using it, I had no idea I had to put his name in to access permission to the lesson. The whole experience has deflated all of us. The only thing that has been good is BBC bitesize, thank goodness for the programmes and website, this is how eventually we decided how to teach our son.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Generally the support has been pretty poor. 2 weeks worth of work set at one time leaving the children to create their own plan and structure. No online learning. Little interaction from teachers. Two parents working full time from home means little support and supervision from us. Very stressful for our child and for us. Strongly feel that our child will have fallen behind in key work and big impact on mental health for our child. Can not wait for September. Children must go back full time to school.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Excellent, I have worked throughout lockdown but with the outstanding support received from our school, teachers, head and office staff. The planned activities and work I have seen my children thrive at home. They aren’t focused, relaxed, enjoyed more outdoor time, least time stuck in a class environment being taught like robots. It hasn’t opened my eyes to the dangers of schools reopening in September.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Primary school aged child, school posted learning material online every day without any further support or direct contact/interaction. Our son has had no issues in school previously, was always assessed as achieving above age related expectation, but there was no way to engage him with any of the work set by school at home. Both parents continued to work from home and partially had to attend workplace, additionally we had a preschool age child to care for without support. We gave up on home schooling 2 weeks into lock down as it had a detrimental effect on everyone in the family 
  2.                     We will very disappointed not to have any additional support from school even after several times contacting them, highlighting our struggles.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It's been really difficult, constantly navigating the pressures of work, home schooling, but also feeding and entertaining the children 24/7.  Working from home whilst looking after the children is already impossible. Adding home learning in the mix just adds to my constant feeling of guilt over not being able to do enough. I worry that other parents do a lot more and that my daughter may fall behind because we haven't done enough. 
  2.                     Our daughter is now refusing to do any home learning at all and most of the time I don't have any energy left to try to motivate her by making learning fun and engaging. In fact I don't want to be around my children quite a lot of the time and I feel so guilty for it. They are moody and argue a lot which doesn't help the situation. It's a vicious circle.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It’s been extremely tough to juggle schooling and working from home. I am absolutely exhausted, my son is desperate to get back to school and so am I, this is for the mental well-being of all the family. 
  2.                     We coped because we had no choice but it’s been the hardest thing to do. Telling him I need to do emails and work and gibbing him off is just not acceptable and has meant very long days with no down time.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Unfortunately I was left with no job during lockdown and the stress of wanting to find a job, homeschooling,  being housewife and mother has been too much. I have a 7 year old boy (year 2) and 5 year old girl (reception) . Even though the school and teachers have been saying since the beginning that we didn't have to do all the work scheduled,  there is the moral pressure that you don't want your kids left behind academically. There were days that the shouting and crying was too much in this house and I do believe that it affected all our relationship.  As so about 2 weeks ago I have sent an email to the teachers saying that as a family we were quiting homeschooling and concentrate on family activities.  We haven't done any assignments since. Was it the right decision? No sure. I just don't want my children to look back and remember the horrible mum that was shouting all the time and making them do the 8 to 10 assignments per day and not leaving any time to play and connect with mum and dad.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It has been horrendous. My husband is a key worker and I also work full time although no classed as a key worker. We make the decision as we felt that this was what we were being asked to do, to not send our children to school if we really didn’t need to. So instead we have spent the last 13 weeks essentially neglecting our children in order to do our jobs. I think children whose parents work full time will be amongst the hardest hit during the school closures: little time to spend on home learning, no exciting adventures and bike rides on a Tuesday for instance. Instead weeks of being told to hurry up with phonics as mummy has to go on a conference call or being handed a tablet to entertain them. Schools have provided little or no teaching relying on the grown up at home to deliver it; something unfeasible if someone is working full time.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘The quality of work set by the primary school has been fine, the quantity ambitious. Beyond sending the basic lesson plans and resources, the school has not offered any direct teacher contact or interaction with children or peers within the class despite many requests by parents. You can email teachers work and get a brief email response saying well done but there is no substantive assessment or feedback. It is seemingly possible to just abandon children and neglect your duty of care, not even a phone call, despite no doubt receiving funding for these children from the government. The school has blamed lack of contact on staff availability and safeguarding concerns through operating virtually, despite many local schools being able to achieve this. Despite being on the keyworker list, the school have not been able to accommodate my child as they are supposedly full and have not made any effort to review this provision over the summer term despite requesting at the start of June. The enormous burden placed on parents to deliver education over many months and keep children engaged in some productive learning whilst juggling family life with three young children, running a home and working at a time of enormous anxiety has been horrendous and too much for us all over so many months.’ 

 

  1.                     ‘School is so much more than academics - social interaction and developing relationships with others, sense of community, team building, diversity, change of scene - all has been totally neglected by the school and this government since the decision to abandon million of children in June. Doing this with no plan B is a national disgrace. Britain’s once internationally renowned education system is a shambles dominated by factional interests with no real focus on or prioritisation of outcomes for young people who will have to forge a recovery from this. Proper planning should have allowed all children an opportunity to receive some schooling - not just a privileged few year groups who have had the extra benefit of smaller bubbles while abandoning millions which is obviously unfair.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘The goal posts have continually shifted and now September is looking aspirational. I have two children due to start school this September 2020 who have only had a few days back at their preschool before the summer break and at the time of writing have had no direct contact with the primary school about transition or opportunity to meet teachers etc. Basic information has been sent out but no confirmed details about September, classes, teachers etc. They are ill prepared and the school have not as yet even responded to email requests for information after 3 weeks. I am not hopeful about September and have heard rumours of the start date being pushed back which again hampers parents work plans. Finally, what saddens me the most is my child has become much more anxious, lonely and upset as a result of missing out on all that school has to offer. This is a significant set back and mental health issues are notoriously complex to resolve. Children deserve better.’ 
  2.                     I implore the government either to lead or allow School Heads to make proper plans appropriate to their setting so that this national disgrace is never repeated. Education has to be a priority not just for our economic recovery but for our children’s quality of life and wellbeing in this country. It must be properly funded and made workable from September.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Children's work for year one was set in the school website. A few video links to collective worship. A few U tube videos on songs to sing. Very little contact with school unless was parent you contact school with your child's work.
  2.                     A suggestion for one class session on zoom each week to help maintain the links to school. This was not given to hear one but it was used with year four, five and six.
  3.                     School has not managed disgraced the progress of children at all some parents are not working through the materials deputy School and others are I oh doing part of the school work, mostly maths and english.
  4.                     There are huge clashes with a child that cannot work independently and both mum and dad who are also trying to work from home.
  5.                     There are parts of the week where the child spends it on I tube videos while.both parents are working.
  6.                     The lack of contact with other children has caused immense frustration and anger. I do think that school could do something to change this and make interaction happen by running g some kind of enrichment activities for chikdren.
  7.                     Brownies has carried on via zoom and most weeks the girls have loved doing it.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘My wife and I both work full time and started working from home when lockdown happened. We have 2 children - one in year 1 and the other at preschool. 
  2.                     Looking after the children whilst working is basically impossible unless they are watching TV. So we were forced to split childcare between us then work late into the evening. We were doing 15 hour+ days every day for weeks.  Homeschooling was very challenging. My daughter thought it was unfair that she had to learn while he brother didn't even though he wasn't at school and we were low in energy with all the time we were putting in.  Add to that, my daughter's school did not being back year 1 in June. After much complaining by the parents they eventually brought back year 1 for just 4 days this term. That has at least been something and helped with motivation.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Our experience has been shockingly poor.  My children go to one of the better rated schools in the town and to that end I anticipated outstanding contingency arrangements for emergencies such as these.  The school was wholly unprepared and seems actively against changing sing their delivery models from anything other than face to face learning in the school building.  No attempt to use any kind of video or audio teaching has taken place, despite every other employee in any other business in the country having to learn how to do that on the hoof and without training.  Excuses for this have been ‘kids don’t all have access to PCs/laptops’ and ‘there isn’t enough broadband’ and ‘well only 5% of schools are doing that and they are all private”.  Most kids have phones, even those that are more deprived, And old fashioned printing and sending it home in an envelope could work as a contingency arrangement, and frankly, vulnerable kids could still attend school anyway.‘

 

 

  1.                     ‘Key working arrangements have been dreadful, and thus barely taken up, school closes at 3pm, which is apparently wrap around?  I need school to be open until at least 5pm as a key worker, and I have had to leave my 12 year old under the care of her older sibling several times as school arrangements for key worker cover have been so poor.  I’m lucky my children are up just about old enough for that, other colleagues have not been as lucky.  Schools have not stood up and been counted in the same way as other sectors have in response to this pandemic, supermarket workers have been more proactive, I expected more of education.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘The work sent home for my year 7 child has been extremely minimal, taking her less than 30 minutes a day, and much of it labelled optional.  Project work has been relied on, putting significantly more pressure on parents to help with structuring project work, creating models, And doing kitchen experiments.  I work as a key worker and simply do not have time to do this.  In many cases one child only received one email all term from their teacher which was essentially a scanned in maths book to work through.  My year 10 child has more work but again there has been no attempt to create virtual learning environments and the school has hidden behind safeguarding policies.  The face to face time for year 10s has been utterly pointless and very disruptive for parents and their employers/other colleagues who have to cover, my child tells me that there was no reason why it could have been done by zoom.  No school transport is running yet the summer sessions were only for 2 hours a week for 5 weeks with a 15 minute max collection window for parents.  Many secondary kids travel long distances to school In the North, so walking and cycling are unrealistic, vs London.
  2.                     Schools need to be required to ensure they are focussed on inclusive learning for all, Which will require a blended approach of virtual and traditional, and pragmatic options for transport and uniform policies -(especially for kids who may need to shield all winter).  Schools need to accept there will be no return to ‘normal’, frankly traditional school learning is no longer the right approach for the 21st century anyway.  Teacher unions need to start changing and adapting.  Heads and Governing bodies need to get out of their conservative safe havens.  School transport for 2000 kids per secondary schools needs to sorted out prior to September.‘ 

 

  1.                     ‘Schools have failed to adapt, and still are failing to adapt, and I have zero confidence that a second wave of home learning will be any better than the first and that schools and teachers are able to learn as well as the children they are supposed to be educating. It should not be about getting kids ‘back to school’, but about ensuring ‘kids can keep learning wherever they are with the right support’.  Overall, I have the impression that my kids school just doesn’t want to change and puts the institutional need and teacher needs before pupil needs.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have 3 children age 3, 6 & 8.
  2.                     Homeschooling started ok but quickly the novelty wore off & the kids started resenting us & blaming us for making them do work.
  3.                     The school would send weekly learning schedules via email for each child, which would include many links & things to watch on the computer, different links, videos & subjects for each year group. Only having 1 laptop in the house made it virtually impossible as 1 child would use the laptop & the other child then complains ‘it’s not fair he’s using the computer’ and visa versa.  Family life became strained as physically we could not homeschool the way the school wanted. It caused great stress & upset to all.  The school tried organising a weekly Zoom call for separate year group so children at home could share their work but they weren’t always successful.
  4.                     Our 8 year old really struggles, has mood swings, emotions all over the place & just really misses his ‘proper’ school life.  We contacted school about our concerns but not a lot of help or advice was offered. The school seemed to be focusing on the key worker children that were in school & the kids at home were a second thought & a little forgotten about.
  5.                     I understand it’s only a small school so not geared up the way larger schools are, so were unable to offer online lessons but could of provided worksheets etc
  6.                     The whole experience has been HARD causing a lot of arguments, tears & troubles.
  7.                     We can’t wait for September & some normalish school routines to commence.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for both me and my children. I don’t have the skills to teach and they are too young to learn themselves without support. I have also been working full time at home. It’s practically impossible to do both. The guilt I feel at not being able to properly educate my children is horrible. We have had no live online teaching sessions from the school, just get handed the work to “get on with”. My eldest has struggled the most. His confidence has gone and he calls himself stupid. He’s 7! This can not go on in September.’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘I would like to echo what has already been said, i.e. home-schooling has been hell.  I am working full time and am not able to sit with my son to teach him; he initially was on top of everything but has got further and further behind.  This has caused arguments and disruption in the household, he is angry and at the lowest point swore at us.  He is unable to sleep until the early hours of the morning and does not get up easily in the morning.  He is missing his friends.  I'm also not convinced that despite us feeling he is falling behind and it having caused a lot of pain he has not done more work than his peers.  I am at breaking point, I cannot do this again.  He needs teaching, you cannot - for example - give new maths work/ideas to a child and assume he will understand it by watching a video - he needs teaching.  This has resulted in late evenings and weekends given over to further work that has not been done in the week.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘The school have been fantastic and I honestly can’t fault them but my child will not do any form of work at home, he has special needs and in his mind school work is done at school!!!!! How can I argue with that and cause more distress to him.  He has been back for his one day and was begging me to send him back the next day as he loved it. He needs to be back full time ASAP 
  2.                     Please please lobby the welsh government for the sake of our children.’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have two children at secondary school and keeping them motivated has been extremely difficult and time consuming.   Consequently I have found very little time for anything else and the arguments about getting out of bed, working on their next topic and submitting work have become more fierce and intense.   The dynamic between parent and child is very different to that between teacher and child. The amount of work set has varied dramatically between subjects and between my two children which has also increased tensions.  I am really worried about the amount of schooling they have missed and am struggling to see how they will ever catch up.’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘My wife and I are fortunate to be employed at the same organisation and have the flexibility in our work to change our working pattern to support our children's education and work a different schedule than 9 to 5. Whilst we are able to work flexibly we are still working full-time, as well as educating our kids 6 hours a day. Working unsocial hours to make sure the job is done on top of home schooling. We are also fortunate to be financially able to provide materials for learning that have been lacking from our school. We appreciate that schools have focused their efforts on vulnerable children but this has left us left with little help from school, making up for this lack in our "spare time", finding resources and coming up with ideas for ways to engage our kids in learning.

 

  1.                     We both feel that we've been cut adrift and left to fend for ourselves. Thankfully our kids (8 & 10) have accepted the challenge that lockdown has presented and have continued to develop and thrive. Their bond has perhaps even strengthened. This has not been easy and has taken its toll on the family, where both us parents are exhausted and in need of a break. The weekends arrive before we know it but also pass in a blur of activity. We need the certainty of knowing how our children will return to school, whenever that is! September or not (it needs to be safe for them to return), so that we can plan and at least know when the end is in sight. The return of children to school has struck as being a free for all, with friend's kids returning to school in situations where our school wouldn't contemplate them returning. We again realise that the classroom environment must be safe and maintain social distancing. A coherrent approach to pupil returns that is national rather than at the discretion of individual schools would be appreciated. Consulting teachers before making announcements would make the process less shambolic too! We have tried to maintain a positive outlook and be thankful of the time with our children we wouldn't normally have had but it is tainted by the lack of support that has been forthcoming.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Child in Reception Returned to school part time from 29th June Child in year 4 not allowed back yet. We receive powerpoints everyday. No teaching intervention. Microsoft teams was used from mid June to do weekly register with teacher but no teaching. Powerpoints are typically exercises taken from twinkl website.  Exercises are suitable for embedding learning rather than teaching new topics.  Communication from school was limited despite being part of broader Bourne Education Trust. Exec Headteacher sent strongly worded mail to parents making clear that she did not expect parents to complain or challenge her authority. We are both full time working parents with no childcare options at moment so incredible amounts of stress undoubtedly impacting children’s wellbeing.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Excellent communications and support from school. Broad and balanced curriculum. Value given to all learning not just academics. Virtual sports week this week which she is really excited about. Phone calls regularly from school and positive feedback given on home learning uploaded to google classroom. Child has made excellent progress in reading, writing and maths since March, as well as learning lots of other things - today she made pizza for her tea - and being able to do a daily bike ride or forest walk. Reading for pleasure from choice. Behaviour (which is an issue) has been calmer and fewer emotional outbursts. Child is Y1, FSM, eligible for ‘vulnerable’ place but stayed doing home learning as sibling is shielding.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Initially my son at primary was sent home with about 3 weeks of work and the school set up Google Classroom - which has been a godsend! However 9 year olds thrive on interaction and he’s found staying engaged difficult unless I’m joining in with him.... but both myself and his dad are working from home - do this has been extremely stressful for me as my husbands work is mire meetings based so he can’t do it. I’m also spending hours in the evening uploading work, I have a phone full of pictures of his work and been e-mailing to get it on the laptop then upload never mind finding and reading when it has been marked!!! My older son at secondary can work more easily on his own but doesn’t plan very well they use SMHW /Satchel app but have been set more work than he’d usually do in each lesson so has fallen behind. But I believe he is making more effort than many others in his class.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Difficult but rewarding. Teaching and learning are different things and neither is straightforward.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘So hard...juggling working from home and schooling my nine year old has been a nightmare.
  2.                     His school started well, providing good resources via google classroom, but after the Easter break only sent one A4 sheet a week with a few ideas and links to websites. Not enough to keep him busy while I worked, and completely reliant on him managing his own work. I’ve had to make my own plans and buy a subscription to a teaching resource site to produce enough for him to do and even then it’s about 2 hours a day. Definitely not getting enough exercise either.Two phone calls from school in the entire time we’ve been off. Work have announced 20% of staff will be made redundant so now it’s even more important to make sure you’re seen to be busy when working from home. Like other parents, I feel completely forgotten about. Surviving not thriving.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘My son's grammar school provided only two online lessons in 4 months.My son was given tonnes of worksheets on each day for each subject which was unmanageable. Both my husband and I work full time and had to negotiate time during our working hours to teach my son Maths,Chemistry,French,GermanHistory etc. My son did not see the point behind all the worksheets and neither did we.I complained to the school on multiple occasions and they said  many teachers did not feel confident doing online lessons or did not do them out of principle.This was very difficult to accept as it is a selective grammar school but obviously with lots of teaching problems which we have come to find out due to Covid 19.I wonder if I should complain to the department of Education as I cannot grasp how a teacher can refuse online teaching out of principle.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I’m a freelancer and run my own graphic design business so having my 6 year old son at home instead of school has been extremely tiring for me. My son and i have had some lovely times don’t get me wrong, we’ve spent some quality time together and done a few good ‘school’ projects but on the whole it’s been difficult to get him to associate being at home with learning, as fun as i’ve tried to make it. I’ve not worked during the day as it’s impossible when my son is around, plus i don’t see it as fair on him either. So i’ve had to greatly reduce my working hours and do most of my work during the evenings when he is in bed and some at weekends while the husband entertained my son. While i’ve received a grant from the government for loss of work i’ve still had to keep my regular client relationships going and do some work for them, otherwise it would like losing my job. I’ve not had the luxury of being furloughed. I have been completely shattered, up till early hours in the morning with not enough rest time before having to do the whole day over again.  It’s not something i can sustain long term and will be damaging to my health and business if it keeps happening intermittently over the next school year. Not to mention my son was making such good progress with his current teacher and i’m so disappointed that he’s missed out on a lot with her and his friends this year. The whole reaction has been completely disproportionate to the situation.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have two boys, year 3 and year 5. They attend an outstanding church school. However during lockdown I feel the support given has been far from outstanding. 
  2.                     The school has remained open for key workers and children in need.
  3.                     Work has been set daily via dojo, an on line facility. PDF’s or web links sent for 3/4 subjects per day. The has happened without fail every day of the academic term.. so technically good.
  4.                     But there has been no actual teaching, no videos of how to do things, no phone calls, no one on on check ins, no zoom/ group on line classes .  A few video messages have been sent out. But ther year 3 has seen his teachers face for two 60 sec videos in 16 weeks.
  5.                     The learning has 100% relied upon me as a mum stepping in and explaining & motivating The learning. Quite frankly I’m exhausted.’
  6.                     ‘My own business has gone on hold. I can’t parent and teach while running a business. Fortunately we can survive on my husbands wage, but what will happen later this year only time will tell.
  7.                     My children have been withdrawn, cried about home not being the place to learn, mourned the loss of friends and I’ve fought each day to Jeep them upbeat and stimulated. Walks in different places, different ways to play etc. Which has taken its toll on me and I no am regularly reduced to tears.
  8.                     As a mummy we are built to protect and nurture our children, not shout about sitting still and holding the pencil the right way. Home is for love and fun and discipline in different ways. How it’s deemed acceptable for blended learning or home school to be A continuing solution I’ve no idea. 
  9.                     What I ask is why key workers children have continued to be an elite class, singled out for 100% school time, long after the panicked effects of the pandemic eased and most key workers were back to their normal jobs!!
  10.                     Why still do state paid parents have all children care needs accommodated while normal parents struggle and drown under the daily pressure and little support? Please fight our corner and help us normal mums and dads?’

 

 

  1.                     ‘We have twins in Year Two, one with special educational needs. We both have full time jobs and have been working at home throughout the lock down. Home schooling has put stress upon us as parents juggling two roles and trying to support our child who has difficulty working unsupervised. We believe it has affected the children's mental health. We requested our son with learning challenges returned to school when they reopened in June but the school declined because places had to be retained for children in the specified year  groups even if their parents chose not to send them back to school - this has led to a huge waste of public resources with classes below capacity. It also appears that all public sector workers were deemed "critical" and their children could attend school throughout lock down. For those parents working in the private sector there has been no support.’

 

  1.                     ‘The school has worked hard to deliver a good curriculum online. However as a single parent family with a high pressure job, I have struggled to give my children, aged 5 and 8, the attention that they need to do the work online. It requires huge organisation in the evenings printing off worksheets and working out what tasks my children might engage with without too much support from me. Often by the evenings I’m exhausted from doing my own job and/or still have work to do and can’t give over the time to this. After a few weeks I therefore stopped doing the online work set by the school and instead have concentrated on keeping the children happy and occupied. They read online to grandparents, listen to audiobooks, do a bit of maths in a workbook that we bought and play.  This is the best that I can do while holding down my job. I need school to get the children back in September. The focus for this age should not be on catching up, but on wellbeing, social skills and getting back into the school routine.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Patchy at best! I am not able to teach my kids in the ways they are expecting, using the tools and language they recognise - we didn’t call things ‘number bonds’ when I was at school. I also don’t have the sort of English grammatical knowledge that people of my age only have if they’ve done Latin A level. It seems I am therefore unable help an 8 year old with literacy...! I am also working full time, so can’t supervise kids all the time. I’m worried about the potential mental health impact of them mooching round the house for hours on end.
  2.                     Schools absolutely cannot win. I am a parent governor - we don’t have advance notice of requirements, but we have to react quickly to government info with no additional budget. Extra cleaning is all very well, but where does the money come from to pay for it?’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Heart breaking lack of care and contact . We waited till after Easter in the hope that school interaction would commence but only limited “ work “ was put up on the website or sent to students . There was no phone contact till a call in Mayby one teacher . No lessons  till one teacher broke ranks and started audio lessons once a week for my y10  around June . My year 12 child also started to receive live lessons and interaction from one wonderful teacher  in one of the A level subjects . With limited contact there was limited motivation so it was difficult to get students out of bed and as we had no direct communication with school we didn’t know what or how much  they were being sent .  Teenagers do not like parents nagging them to know what they have got from school or indeed how much work they have done each day . By June the majority of subjects reachers started using Teams or some  prerecorded lessons Using voice and whiteboard .  When y12 finally had a visit to school a teacher apologised to the group  for there being no teaching ; that had been due to the senior management team . My child was also told there was no teaching due to safeguarding . The students knew that at other local schools the students were receiving  an hour of live lesson in each gcse subject each week with homework and  feedback and similarly supportive for y12 and all other years .   As parents we received a very wordy “ update “ each Friday of what school was  PLANNING , CONSIDERING , ORGANISING ,THINKING ABOUT ETC . but with very little substance. It appears that unionised SMT have been able to control the teaching or lack of it but as parents this is only an assumption. The school has some wonderful and caring teachers so it was strange that they were not  able To teach the students . The amount of missed teaching will never be caught up but  next year my children will be expected to sit exams along side peers in other schools who have been taught considerably more consistently and thoroughly .  The lack of care  for the students has been  heartbreaking with some teachers really trying hard  to help .’

 

 

  1.                     ‘The school provided good support via online learning system - SeeSaw and my children were relatively engaged and interested in this. My employer was understanding too But given this pretty positive starting point the experience has still been immensely difficult. Trying to do your day job and be a teacher is enough to drive anyone to a breakdown. Trying to work in scattered chunks around home schooling makes it so hard to give any meaningful thought to your own work and the children have been good at doing work but also have had to be dumped in front of the tv a lot of time.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Neither of my children have been in school at all since it stopped providing an education in March. I am a key worker and my kids are reception and y2. The decisions on key workers was random, disorganised and appeared to be in a first come, first serve order rather than fair. I held off applying as I didn’t want to take advantage, which meant I lost out to others in similar situations when places ran out.  Online ‘learning’ has been appalling - just a few links to Twinkl each week, which we couldn’t always print. No interaction with teachers whatsoever until we complained then we got one video of the teacher reading a story and two 5 min phone calls to check in with us. There was no task setting, no marking work, no projects set or online classrooms or lessons. We had no bespoke work from the school and they neglected to highlight the Oak Academy sufficiently. Reception children didn’t return to school, just key worker kids from some year groups. Management was disorganised, communication was messy and defensive and I feel it was politicised. The school procrastinated for Government advice, blamed difficulties with the guidelines, didn’t mention education once - only health and safety, and sided with the unions. There was no willingness or strategy to open. It was a weak effort and we were wholly let down. And this from a well funded Ofsted Outstanding school. Awful, I’m glad we’re moving to a new area and new school with more proactive and organised management.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Very limited and disappointing support from the children’s school.  Limited activities sent home, all requiring a large amount of input from parents, the school seemingly disregarding the fact that parents need to work.  Work only sent (generally without prior warning of when this would be) once before Easter, once in the first summer half term, once at the start of the second half term.  The final 4 weeks the school started bi-weekly class zoom calls which improved the situation slightly but still fell alarmingly short of the standard and quantity/quality of teaching that should have been provided throughout.  Extremely disappointed with the school.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I haven’t really needed to school my yr 7 child beyond a little guidance. The school has provided a reasonable amount of work and child has managed to workload, surprisingly well.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I must mention, that I have noticed an improvement in overall mood. Aside from the lack of routine, there haven’t been too many negatives at all.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have a 12 year old at High School and a 10 year in year 5 at Primary.  My husband and I have been working full time from home: home schooling has been nigh on impossible.  For the 10 year old we have had to leave her to her own devices - by the evening everyone is so tired we just don't have the energy to go through what little she has done and what has been missed.  Work comes through each night from school but a very low percentage has been completed. ‘

 

 

  1.                     ‘The school approaches things from their perspective: we received a survey regarding going back to school in September and how that may have to be done on a week on, week off basis.  For working parents they have absolutely zero understanding of the implications of this which makes me very angry (and I'm a ex-parent governor of the school).  The survey included questions such as 'what day would you prefer your child's teacher to have a half day off doing preparation!'.  Preparation for returning to school has been haphazard and making use of the multi academy trust facilities has been non-existent (use of school halls for larger groups etc).  We receive bulletins of stay at home mums making floral bunting and baking cakes with their children which makes you feel inadequate and a failure as a parent as we don't even have enough time to check whether they've done their homework.   I do feel very much as if it's been all about the teachers and how they're going to cope on return, not about the children and the time they've missed.  I'm incredibly frustrated by the hold the teaching unions still have.  I do feel the Government is starting to stand up to them.  
  2.                     Thank you for your campaign and all the work you're doing: finally working parents have a voice.  We're not all building nature gardens with our kids and going on cycling trips every day.  Some of us are trying to keep companies afloat and the economy going, whilst trying to do the best for our kids.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘The school has set work using its Firefly system, so print out or online work. 
  2.                     Comments based on my year 8 DS.
  3.                     All subjects have been setting work. 
  4.                     English-followed a plan each week, PowerPoint and worksheets. Feedback sometimes.
  5.                     Maths-always mathwatch tasks. Work not that challenging. Zero feedback. No lessons.
  6.                     French-followed a plan. PowerPoint, worksheets and an online textbook. We tried! Feedback was excellent.
  7.                     Science-powerpoints and worksheets, videos. Zero feedback.
  8.                     ICT-as above! Zero feedback.
  9.                     Humanities-as above. Zero feedback.
  10.                     Tech-powerpoints, worksheets, videos and make tasks. Some of the make tasks we've enjoyed, especially making the marble run. Good use of Google SketchUp for the last 3 weeks. Feedback barely.
  11.                     Art, drama, music, pe, personal development-did none!

 

  1.                     Communication from subject teachers generally non-existent. 
  2.                     Use of group video teaching (zoom,teams etc) non existent.
  3.                     Work done each day - maybe 1.5 hours. I go out to work so not there to supervise.
  4.                     DS has lack of motivation and inclination. No-one holds his poor work quality/quantity to account. 
  5.                     He'll go back in Sept with a MASSIVE hole in his knowledge. But because we're not low income, he won't get extra help. He'll be the lost lower/ middle ground kids who the school won't do anything for. 

 

  1.                     Footnote. We started KIP McGrath tutoring with him last year in English, because school had let him slide down into the bottom set. 4 months of Kip, he moved back up a set! Over lockdown, Kip has been great. A hours online video tutoring once a week, where he's taught, supported and held to account for his work. Set homework is marked and gone through the following week. He works hard and his teacher can't understand why he's in such a low set.

 

  1.                     For my year 10 DD. Similar comments to above. Main gripe is I've heard other schools have used video lessons extensively. I feel next year's GCSEs will show up the hads (zoom learners etc) and the had nots. The hads will have less gaps in knowledge so cutdown exams, extra teaching time, reduced grade boundaries etc will lead to 2-tier results.  

 

  1.                     Sorry about the rant.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘My 8 year old is not motivated enough to go onto a portdl with no direction to self- educate. My husband and I work full time. We've had to leave our child, to fend for herself and to compensate are paying 2 hour weekly one to one online sessions in English and Maths. We were expecting the school website to be a temporary measure. Nothing replaces the presence of a teacher. I've felt guilty throughout for not being able to support our child but i also feel let down by the school and saddened that children were not prioritised during this crisis. It'd not just about the lack of school and being behind, its also about the family stress this situation generated and the anxiety it created for children who had their routine disrupted. I feel for single parents and for looked after children. This has not been easy for anyone. Its effects on children's mental health and well being are yet to be revealed.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Google classroom English and maths daily which has been structured and easy for the children to understand. Lessons recorded by teachers and then submitted for basic feedback which has been sporadic. The lessons of themselves worked well until separate maths for each level within the year ended as more pupils went back to school which meant homogenous maths set at too basic a level for the two more apt groups in the year. Other subjects simply had links to follow to find work, ie science, art, RE.   On the whole the school and teachers did well although I think there could have been specific science lessons set too. We’ve had emails from the school but no contact at all otherwise. The ability to settle down and concentrate has waned over the weeks for my two children. I almost feel that we shouldn’t really be working towards an end of term date as there has been no school. It would be better for the ones that didn’t get to go back to be able to have a few days at school at least to meet their new teachers for next year and to say goodbye to the old ones so it feels like it’s more of a natural transgression into the next year. Our school also took back year 2 for 3 weeks which I think was unfair to years 3,4 and 5. Other schools took back all years for a few days which would have been better for the children as mine have begun to suffer from separation anxiety which worries me for September. They won’t have been without a parent for 7 months and have lost their independence. I think it’s unfair for children that the schools and unions have been left to make the decisions about who goes back, provision of lessons and contact’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Hellish - to be honest. Impossible to juggle full time work and also homeschool 2 kids who do not want me as their teacher. Husband and I run our own business so cannot take time off or ask to be furloughed - or our company would collapse and many jobs - including our own - would be lost. We have never worked so hard without a break as well as trying to keep the kids educated and their mental health stable. We are pinning everything on Sept being back to normal hours as we cannot go on much longer. Tantrums aplenty from both kids and myself. All their friends are having the same issues - they are all pale, tired, despondent and fed up. So many parents are struggling and the kids are too - this will set working mothers in particular back years. The schools are barely open but we can all go to the pub - where are the priorities?!’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It is not home-schooling! It is trying to hold down a full time job and somehow replace the 96hrs of schooling and paid childcare per week that usually enable that.

 

  1.                     I am lucky to have bright and relatively compliant kids, so the teaching itself is not too bad when it is possible. However, trying to balance delivery of two radically different syllabuses to two children of different ages is borderline impossible for any length of time (and not something that teachers normally have to contend with in the classroom).Working late into the evening and at weekends to catch up has become the norm, meaning that there is no respite for working parents.
  2.                     The schooling situation is compounded by the Infant/Junior (as opposed to Primary) school system being completely overlooked by the government and glossed over in their guidelines. My son is in yr2, a transitional year between Infant and Junior, but he won't get any schooling until September, when he turns up cold to a brand new school with teachers he has never met, while also never having had the chance to say goodbye to his Infant school and teachers.

 

  1.                     So in summary, home-schooling has been hard, but certainly easier for me (in a relatively stable and well-resourced situation) than for many.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It has taken its toll on every member of the family, directly or indirectly, and yet does not seem to be recognised as a central issue in getting things back toward normal.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I am a key worker and a single parent. I cram a week’s work worth of homeschooling into my two non- working days and have take annual leave to specifically do more. It has put a huge strain on my relationship with my daughter and I am exhausted. I am extremely anxious about Welsh schools’s move towards blended learning in September. This approach is not sustainable.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It has been awful. At a time when my job has become more pressurised and urgent (working in payroll) I have not been able to adequately supervise let alone home school my children. My eldest is 9 years and at every point needs to be reminded what needs to be done when. Constant interruptions when I am trying to focus on my job and my stress levels have been through the roof. I got to a point whereby my employer asked me to speak with a doctor urgently due to my physical symptoms and I was signed off with stress that day. I have never suffered with stress before. School have uploaded work to Google drive but there is so much of it. Pages to be printed daily. We gave up quickly as the paper and ink was being consumed so quickly and my eldest lost interest after the first page. It was months before we had a phone call from the teacher.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It is impossible to simultaneously carry out work I am being paid for and home school children. No-one would expect me to bring my children to the office and adequately educate them with a full day's worth of work so why is it expected now? Working parents are the forgotten 'squeezed middle'.’

 

  1.                     ‘I was unable to Homeschool due to Being a critical key worker and also my child didn’t really understand what was being asked of her so wasn’t able to do
  2.                     It in her own! We agreed that my work would come first! Such a stressful time!’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I work 30 hours per week as a specialist nurse, early in lockdown I began working at home running clinics by telephone, because it was impossible to socially distance in my crowded office, all clinics became telephone only and I have a health condition that meant I was vulnerable. My husband work 30 hours as an engineer, and also began working from home.
  2.                     We took our two children out of key worker care provided by their school, because we felt that if we were both working at home we should.  The school have worked exceptionally hard to support children during lockdown, and to provide learning resources.  However the learning platform took some time for all of us to get used too. It has been very difficult to balance work and home schooling, even though we have both had a day off per week. We have needed to give the children considerable amounts of time supporting them with the school work and emotionally. We do not grudge them this but it has been hard to do both every week since march. There have been times when the needs of our jobs and the homeschool have been incompatible, leading to feelings stress of failure in both areas. We have been motivated to provide some structure, routine, interest and learning for our children, believing that this was best for them, especially emotionally. However it has been hard, and at times had impacted negatively on family relationships. Having said that it is not all bad, we have had more time together as a family that we would ever have expected. Home schooling has given us a greater insight into how our children learn and areas where they need support.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘My youngest Son is in year 7. School have been good at providing work. Initially we were encouraged to try and follow the school timetable but not to worry if this wasn't possible. Both me and my husband work from home. We did what we could to support our Son while trying to make it as stress free as possible. As time went on school started to ask for work to be submitted which put a bit more pressure on but we coped with this.  A few weeks ago they put all the lessons on Google classroom and sent a timetable to be followed.  It took a while to learn how to use Google classroom which was an added stress. Our son has found the new timetable hard to keep up to. There is more work to complete for each subject and more subjects for him to cover. 
  2.                     You can message teachers if you need help and this is something we do rather than our Son. We also upload and submit any work he has managed to do. We feel that it's enough for him to do the lessons which are on PowerPoint slides, with audio now.  On top of this our other Son in year 10 has an educational health care plan. He has been unable to engage with home school and is struggling with returning to school now that he can. 4 months of trying to home school while WFH has taken its toll on all of us.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It was hard I'm a sole single parent of a 10 year old attempting to juggle full-time work from home with home-schooling. It's impossible. Some days I am on conference calls all morning and all afternoon. My son has no siblings, no other parents, no neighbours. Under different circumstances the lack of human interaction would be considered neglect. The school has been appalling in regards to what is sent through, and the general lack of engagement. There shouldn't be any distinction between key workers and other workers. There a key workers with one stay at home parent able to send kids to school. Single parents, should have had more support. All kids should have had the opportunity to go to school, even if just 1 day a week. Reception, Yr1 and Yr6 going back full-time, while others have nothing is unjustifiable.

 

 

  1.                     We have felt that school have provided a good level and variety of educational material which has kept my son fully working for the whole lockdown period. He has received a reasonable amount of support and feedback from staff including video messages from the headteacher. There have been issues where teachers were not receiving his work but this, while frustrating, was resolved quickly. He has been great and has learned skills in online communication with his friends. I worry about the lack of hand written work he is doing as this will impact his exams performance.’

 

  1.                     ‘Absolute nightmare when your not a teacher far too much work set daily takes hours to do it as a working parent its impossible to do it all my child got fed up with it we fell out alot cause he would laugh when should be concentrating hope i dont have to do it again.’

 

  1.                     ‘I have a son in Year 1 who doesn't want to do any school work, go out, see his friends. It has been too long without much interaction. He is on the one plan and very much in need of that 121 teaching which I cannot give him as I also have a demanding 2 year old and work from home. My husband and I are separated too.  The fact his school didn't/couldn't take him back as I am not a key worker was really unfortunate and will definitely have an impact on him when returning to school in September. Lockdown has definitely has been a struggle.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Teachers would send a link to a website on a sunday night. That's it. They were far too busy with key worker kids that were at school to combine with teaching kids that were at home so that was entirely done by me/parents while trying to do my fulltime job in business development for a multinational company. I would get up at 5am, start work, then start schooling with him at 9am and often be working, even in zoom calls, in parallel. I'd then work until 9pm after he was in bed to make up for lost time, and go to bed to start the same thing again the next day. Finally we stopped  this insanity last week! A colleague of mine who is a single mother with 2 girls would regularly be on Skype in tears as she couldn't cope. Meanwhile a lot of kids in the area just spent the 3 months playing outside on their bikes as the parents just gave up pretty early on. There will be massive inequalities from this which I've decided, perhaps selfishly, to deal with by sending my child to private school in September on the basis that I'd rather pay to make sure he's properly educated than go through that again or even deal with the fact that even if kids go to school next year, most of the time will be spent dealing with the kids whose parents gave up.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘2 parents attempting to do full time jobs working from home and home schooling a 6 & 9 year old has been impossible.  It has resulted in guilt over the lack of school work being done, guilt over the amount of screen time, and guilt knowing I am not supporting my team at work properly.  I have been attempting to work in the evenings but this is not doable long term.  My work have been supportive to a point saying I just need to do what I can, but my work load has not changed.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Lack of foresight anticipating home schooling. 
  2.                     Lack of engagement. Only way had teacher interaction through pestering school. 
  3.                     No use of online teaching. Simply weekly updates to a class page with default work packages much of which is forwarded on from the education authority. 
  4.                     Lack of cross class or cross age within Clitheroe thinking.
  5.                     Was forwarded link to a Burnley college science day that was interactive - our son loved it.’
  6.                     If I wasn't so exhausted and if it wasn't so unsafe I would be protesting on the streets.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have a full time job that although not classified as a key worker has been busier than ever since Covid 19.  As a single parent I have been forced to choose keeping that job and contributing towards my company getting through this crisis over educating my children.  I cannot home school. Unless you would like to persaude my teenagers that a few hours at the weekend should be dedicated to lessons?’ 

 

  1.                     ‘The guilt that I have felt as my children lag behind their peers who have two parents or parents with more flexible jobs is immeasurable.‘

 

 

  1.                     ‘Although the school has been sending work, I had no direct contact from a form tutor until late June. And then it was a message that she was only available to speak to us for two hours the next day.  I couldn't make that time but apparently any other time was not convenient as she has to be in school to make the call? What was the point anyway three weeks before the end of term.’ 
  2.                     ‘The school has also only begun using online teaching for one subject once a week for my children's year groups in the last fortnight.’  

 

 

  1.                     ‘The school is now talking about blended learning in the autumn with a mixture of in school and home learning.  It is already clear that mothers have born the brunt of the pressures of home schooling and simply caring for children during what should be the working day.  It was already hard enough to be a working mother but this is breaking many of us.   I don't want to ask my employer for special arrangements when the office starts to reopen in September. I want the same priority to be given to getting our schools open as our pubs.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘The biggest challenge has undoubtedly been managing work with home schooling. Although my employer has been great about flexibility of work with the responsibilities of parenting and home schooling, this does not take away the fact that working parents are being put in a very difficult position. On one side we have our commitment and professionalism for working for our employer which we take extremely seriously. Personally, I hold myself to account to work to a high professional standard as an archaeologist and as a local government officer and I also take my role as a line manager very seriously caring for the well-being of my staff. However, I have to balance that every day with my family. I am pulled towards my children and their education and well-being as well as my wife who is
  2.                     also working from home full time. Both of us as adults in the house have a mental and emotional battle everyday between work and our children and at the end of each day we never win, at the end of the day you can never have done enough to help your children's education with home schooling and you can never do enough to meet the relentless continuity of the demands of your job. At the end of the day you feel you have failed as a parent and as a professional, you can never win. The toll is taken on mental health for each member of the family, on physical health, on sleep deprivation, on sheer exhaustion. We feel as full time working parents with school age children we are being penalised, we are being asked to do two full time jobs, teach our children, the ones we love the most, but also work for our employer who, as great as they have been, expects us to work as much as we can. I am only able to do this because mentally I am strong and do not give up and I continue to fight every day to teach my children as much as I can, to complete their school work and to do my job for my employer as much as I can and as professionally as I can but I would be lying to myself if I thought I was doing either of these effectively or to anywhere near the level I would like. So, as a working parent I feel I am being punished and it is not the fault of my employer, nor the Government, nor the schools, nor anyone. It is the situation we are in but at the end of the day I am doing two full time jobs and I absolutely can't wait until September!’

 

 

  1.                     ‘My husband and I have both been working from home and have quite demanding jobs. We also have two young children, 3 and 5, to look after and school activities to do with the 5 year old. Thr first part of lockdown was just awful. I've never known stress like it, or more guilt that I wasn't doing enough for my kids or enough for my employer. I hated having to tell my kids that I couldn't play or couldn't help them with something while on a video call with work. Nobody got enough of my attention and I ended every day absolutely knackered. As time went on, the kids learned to play together more and we all got used to it. But then, around the end of May, it seemed to all get too much for everyone. Work was extra busy, kids were extra demanding and kept arguing with each other. School work went out of the window and we all got more miserable by the day. Thankfully now the kids are back at school and nursery so working from home is OK and our employers have been flexible  around drop off/pick up times. The thought of having to go back to all being at home and having to do it all again fills me with dread.  My children are just so much happier now they are back at school, like different people and come home with a big smile on their face. They are learning, playing, interacting with others and living their lives, not stuck at home with parents who are stuck to a desk and struggling not to shout all the time!’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It was refreshing reading the BBC article about homeschooling being hell. Because it was exactly that! My mental health has been atrocious the past 3 months. Juggling work and homeschooling is impossible. Working with kids full time at home is soul destroying. And reading about the teachers unions fighting to keep schools closed reduced me to tears. Our school hasn’t been supporting us at all. My son is in year 1 and he’s only back 2 days a week even though his teacher is doing nothing the rest of the week. They have only 90 kids back at school, not attending the full week, for a school that usually has 500 pupils. There are enough teachers and classrooms for Reception, year 1 and year 6 to go back full time, but they have decided to do the minimum, even though there are loads of parents like us, trying to work at home and feeling miserable.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Way too much work.  Every day.  Same as school timetable.  Full on science, maths etc including experiments and algebra.  All 3 kids behind with most of it. EHCP SEN children just forgotten.  Dyslexia and ASD - I have to teach her myself.  I am a single parent.  I feel like I am going crazy. My house is a tip. 3 teen girls changing clothes all the time and cooking!  When they have gone into school as “permitted children” they play games on the internet and watch YouTube while TA’s just wander around the open plan area.  So even when in school the work isn’t done. Two have done NO maths in 4 months because it is too difficult, there are about 30 maths assignments sitting on Microsoft teams.’

 

  1.                     ‘School have tried to set work as normal, but we didn’t even have laptops for the first 3 weeks ( wonder why they are behind ! ) no-one knew how to even use Teams, PDF’s don’t open, we only have office 365 which doesn’t have full word.‘ 

 

  1.                     ‘At home we have way more arguments than normal, I expect work done - even bought school text books from amazon - they don’t do it, school winge at me, I have a go.  I just about manage to wash up each day and take the dogs out for a walk.   Sick of furlough Lycra cyclists and “bored” people. It is a mission as a single parent to go to a food shop.   I don’t have time to be bored - maybe furloughed people should volunteer to help teach kids ( oh hang on, teachers have been furloughed and some just upload pdfs.’

 

  1.                     ‘Secondary school is way more full on than primary, and try motivating teens!  This will mess up their learning and their future.  Dreading September when everyone on holidays circulate more virus and schools close again :-( that is AFTER the next 6 weeks of continuous 3 teen girls on my own with no money.‘ 

 

  1.                     ‘I have my own company and should be working and preparing company accounts now. No chance. It has been so difficult with a toddler and an 8 year old, we have jobs to balance with looking after our youngest and unfortunately it’s our eldest’s home schooling that has suffered. We are doing our best but it’s been so hard and she has not had the time or attention we would want. We are not teachers and feel like we are letting her down. Which in turn is impacting us. 
  2.                     Thank you for what you’re doing!’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘I am a secondary educator with a child in KS1. I had enjoyed spending extra time with my son before he went back to school. I did find juggling home schooling and my work commitments a struggle. I couldn’t ever give either my all for every day. One always had to give, so I would be on constant catch up. As time moved on I saw my son losing motivation and become disinterested in learning, which is a shame as he loves school. Other parents I have spoken to have had similar situations. They would ask me for advice and I would help as much as possible, but the reality is although I teach myself, I really don’t know much about KS1, so I could imagine for parents who haven’t done certain topics it must be incredibly hard for them to help children with home learning when they are unsure themselves. My son has benefited greatly being in school recently and is motivated to go to school.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It's been hell, I have 1 8 year old, we are both key workers but the other half has been able to stay and wfh full time so we've kept her out of school, school have been worse than rubbish, the work has been appalling, the teacher has called us once during the whole period, I've given up on them and now set my own work for her each morning and bribe her to do it.  If schools don't go back this Sept I seriously am going to have a total, whip ass tantrum, it's ridiculous the way it's been handled, our school could have done so much more to help’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘School has done a great job BUT trying to juggle home/cooking/full time work for both of us and school work is nearly impossible. Both have been totally bored at moments as school send work but can’t tailor to the child or send extension activities. My son has lost end of year 6.  Transferring to a huge grammar next term where it is likely they won’t allow all the subjects etc as usual. What a shame and waste for the children. Schools should be designated as critical infrastructure. There is mounting evidence children are hardly affected. If older people are affected more then why are children being sacrificed when adults are now increasingly resuming their normal lives? It is INFRURIATING that pubs, bingo halls, theme parks and restaurants all take priority over children’s education.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Awful. 
  2.                     The school fail to realise that the decisions they make, without consulting parents, has an effect on not only the child's education but also work and home life.
  3.                     There is no structure or consistent approach to how work is set. 
  4.                     One week my son had completed all his work by lunchtime Tuesday and received no further work. 
  5.                     There is no forum to provide feedback or make suggestions. Hopefully this forum can help. Thankyou for giving us a voice’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Our school has provided no online learning at all (for safeguarding reasons!). We managed ok in the beginning using online resourced but then after 4 weeks the school started sending home learning packs which were triple the volume the kids normally do at school with no lesson (just the exercises).  We were 'required' to use these and discouraged from using any other online tools. This forced us to provide the lessons so every evening 2 hours were spent preparing the lesson plans for the next day. My wife and I have been working 10 hour days to keep up with our normal jobs (which are both exec level jobs) and have had to do lessons, manage the kids, mark the school work and keep up with the lesson packs while running the house. It's simply an impossible task made even worse when the children start to display aggressive behaviour and depression due to the lockdown. Private schools seamlessly switched to online learning using Teams or Zoom while offering e-mail submissions for homework. I simply cannot understand how state schools managed to allow safeguarding and training to be the reasons for not offering anything!. Furthermore with social distancing in schools clearly being impossible why aren't the government working to open up public buildings for schools to allow a bigger physical footprint for the bubbles?? The way this has been handled by the Government beggars belief! If schools close again in Sept I will be moving my children to private schools or relocating to Europe where they seem to know how to manage these issues.’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘Frustrated probably doesn't cover it really. Yes the home schooling situation whilst trying to also do our own jobs from home is difficult and frustrating. However I feel now that our children are being badly let down by those in power both in the government and in education including the local authorities and stance of teaching unions. There seems to be a total lack of leadership from these bodies. The government since the u-turn ending their attempt to get all kids back to school in some capacity in July seem in disarray on this issue. The only rhetoric we hear from the local authorities is about what they can't do, nothing about what they can do, no proposals or plans for what can be done. We seem stuck with the fact that our kids will have no effective teaching and no social contact with classmates until at least September.’

 

  1.                     ‘From our own experience the initial response by our children's school was good with a weeks worth or work set via email at the start of week 1 following the school's closure. We could send work in to teachers for feedback although this was voluntary and there was no proactive contact from teachers. We were directed to online learning resources such as BBC bitesize, White Rose Maths, Active Learn etc. The quantity of work and coverage of subjects has been good, though a little repetitive. However this approach remained the same for the first 11 or 12 weeks with little progress or improvement. The onus was almost completely on the parents to do the schooling with virtually no contact with or from the teachers apart from an email at the start of each week detailing the work to be done.  This was ok for the first few weeks as people got used to the situation but other organisations adapted to the situation and working remotely/online but the schools seem very slow to do this. After we and other parents complained about the lack of contact and visibility of teachers ours have over the last 4 weeks of term improved somewhat with teachers providing more input to the learning resources and planned work and also a 1 hour class zoom meeting per week. We as parents and our children have appreciated this but it came too late and is really still insufficient.  The home schooling while trying also to do our day jobs has been extremely challenging and stressful for the whole family and my wife works part time and we have very understanding employers. I have no idea how families where there is only 1 parent or both parents work full time can be coping.  It has also been very disappointing there there is no provision available for schooling or clubs over the summer holidays. We are using some private holiday clubs and sports camps. Those which normally are run out of the school in holidays are not happening. I don't understand why private ones can run but those at the school are not.
  2.                     There is no middle ground or plan for the interim.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have a Y7 son and a Y5 daughter and my husband and I are working full time from home.  
  2.                     My son has received support daily from his teachers although no face to face lessons have been undertaken. The online learning platform which was set up pre-lockdown however has been great, especially as this has continued to evolve during the absence, and he has continued to develop and receive daily feedback from his teachers . We have not needed to give him too much additional support due to the attentive teacher supervision. This has been a huge help.
  3.                     My daughter attends a CofE school who could not have been more uncompromising during this period. The school motto 'Realising the potential of all children within a caring Christian community' could not be further from the truth.  The lack of support has heaped so much pressure on us all and impacted our relationship with our daughter that we've reached breaking point. It is more difficult than I could ever have imagined. Other faith schools in our area have gone above and beyond to support the children and continue to nurture their development. It feels like we have been abandoned like dogs, thrown a few scraps and left to fend for ourselves.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Home schooling provision has been extremely poor from my sons secondary school.
  2.                     A haphazard, complicated learning platform which hasn't changed since the day it was introduced in mid March. Only now, 2 weeks before the end of term, do they finally move over to Teams, but still no live lessons. Only science has been brave enough to record voice only lessons. The difference between private education and state education is  a disgrace and the govt, unions and teachers have failed all pupils who are state educated. When the world embraced online technology like zoom why did teachers fail to follow suit?’

 

  1.                     ‘Home school teaching a 5 year old while also running on line lessons for my year 6 class has defiantly been challenging. I have enjoyed spending time with my boy, but home is definitely the bigger challenge to home schooling. It is not a natural environment for learning (education based) when the child thinks of home as down time, play and being with mum and dad. We struggled through, but it will definitely remove some elements of stress when things get a little back to normal.’

 

  1.                     ‘School have not engaged with my some at all.  They post 3 worksheets a day that are often dublicates or for the wrong year. School have contacted him once during the lockdown.  He has effectively been cut adrift.’

 

  1.                     ‘I have an eight year old daughter, who has really struggled during lockdown missing both her friends and her teachers. She had been desperately hoping to return to school before the summer holiday but this is not possible. Her school have been really good, there are activities, weekly assemblies and interaction from the teachers. The focus has been on core subjects, maths, English, and basic science, however, there are times when the tasks set are not realistic if you are balancing home schooling and work. Both her father and I work full-time and while we have been doing our best to support her through her schooling, however, our primary concern has been her emotional well-being. She is a bright child and we are confident that she will be able to catch up on her schooling, however, she will not be able to catch up on the time she has missed with her friends. As an only chid who has been through a lot of disruption in her short life she was finally starting to feel settled. She needs reassurance, company and lots of stimulation - which when you are trying to balance work, can be very challenging. We have cried numerous times as we have tried to parent, teach, work, play, do exercise, and meet the emotional needs of our daughter, but we cannot offer it all. She needs the company of children her own age.

 

  1.                     Her friends are not at an age where they have mobile phones and so are dependent on parents being able to arrange contact, now that the parks are open we will do everything that we can to arrange play dates and opportunities to mix with friends her own age, but until the school reopens this will continue to be irregular. I hope that the Education Select Committee can see that for children, schools are not just about education, but providing children with essential social interaction which is crucial for their wellbeing.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Work set on Google classroom (used pre lockdown for homework). No feedback or marking at first, has improved slightly recently. No opportunity for interaction with teachers. School refused outright to organise any kind of video teaching citing inequalities of access, yet the other local school in the same town which if anything serves a more deprived population has provided several lessons a week.
  2.                     Nightmare.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘School work given but not marked. No real help given. Even as a keyworker the head teacher at short notice decides to close easily before school holidays.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘My child suffers from anxiety and was reluctant to go in to school when he had to.Only sent him in last 3 weeks to school and before then homeschooling.’ 

 

 

  1.                     ‘Not sure what I was supposed to be teaching. Not a teacher.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Written work set weekly via website, little or no marking, occasional feedback by email but only if instigated by the student. We have had to fill a lot of gaps and level of work has been very variable between classes.
  2.                     We were very fortunate that my husband is furloughed and my son is keen to learn (for a 15 year old).
  3.                     I felt there was no overview revised of the curriculum and as children had not brought books home (at any point since starting high school) we had no knowledge of where he was up to.’

 

  1.                     ‘Homeschooling with two working parents and a 1 year old sibling was quite frankly impossible. We read lots and tried to make everyday tasks educational where we could. We completed a number of the tasks set by school but by no means all of them. We went for walks, played board games and of course there was a fair amount of television involved but we were safe and happy.’

 

  1.                     ‘Hoping the schools bear in mind parents are not teachers and incorporate a bit of a catch up in September.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I started lockdown thinking homeschooling would be great. The first few weeks were good, I had motivated kids and they got on with the work. After the Easter holidays however they really struggled getting back into homeschooling. I wish school would have done online lessons much earlier as this would have helped.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘My kids are great and we’ve used all kinds of online packages to try and motivate them. TT Rockstars, IXL, Twinkl etc as sometimes the work from school was uninspiring. Only recently have school used Google classrooms for some lessons a and it’s made such an impact on the kids mental health (for the better).’

 

  1.                     ‘I’ve worked from home throughout lockdown and at times it’s been a real struggle. I’m proud of myself and my kids we’ve worked together to try and muddle through and they’ve maintained about two hours per day of school work focusing on Maths and English. I do feel though that this may not be the case for other parents, we have the means to access online packages and pay for subscriptions. I also have diligent children who understand the importance of education. All in all I can’t wait for them to go back to school full time in September, I’m disappointed it couldn’t happen before summer, even for a few days. I’m disappointed that the school seemed to be governed by trade unions who used my children’s lives as a political tool to flex power over the government’s advice.’

 

  1.                     ‘Lessons put on vle for children and at first massively overwhelming in volume and no feedback.  More recently been more positive with 3 days a week full days of online lessons where could interact with teachers and see messages from other students.  This really helped my son cope with feeling isolated from his peers.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Homeschooling fell to parents, online work was initially disorganised and uncoordinated. Volume of work assigned for each subject took no account of what other subjects were setting. No feedback on homework. Anything they could not understand to be.notrd and addressed in Sept. No online lessons with their teacher...only you tube videos occasionally. 
  2.                     Google classroom in place now but other subjects using other platforms making it really hard to manage work over other platforms.
  3.                     No school text books to use or refer to, no workbooks.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘We have both been working although we've had to cut our hours. We have 3 kids under 7 none of which have been a thing school. It's been very hard trying to motivate our 7 year old, while entertaining our other children's and working. We've had minimal support from the school until recently. Overall we're lucky. We have jobs, a house and a garden but we're exhausted and quite angry. The kids are ok but I don't think they've learnt anything much and they've missed school and nursery lots.’

 

  1.                     ‘Primary school got work out straight away,  did quizzes and songs to keep in touch with the kids and weekly calls and work and recorded lessons on website.  They also took on board feedback on work and gave support when needed.’
  2.                     ‘We have had fantastic quality lessons planned and sent to us daily by true professionals. They have been easy to contact for clarity on any subject and have been amazingly supportive throughout lockdown. The live and video lessons have been great too. We have been very happy and would be equally happy to continue this way for longer!’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Home schooling has been tough as we have both been working from home. Even though we both have a boss who is very understanding we haven’t been able to complete much school work. Luckily our LG is in reception so most learning is through play. She hasn’t been keen to do work and we’ve been struggling to balance working, school work and childcare for a 2 year old. There has been lots more screen time and lots more cross words from everyone.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Support from school has been poor and inconsistent. Argue unable to support online due to safe guarding and equality but all communication and lessons are via email and purple mash. Leadership lacks courageous integrity to do the right thing, adapt and be innovative To begin with my experience was fabulous! We did work each morning and structured and free play in the afternoon. When the weather bags to get a little hot, sitting at a table for so long became near impossible so we set activities up, still following the different tasks set by school but in a slightly different way. After 4 weeks of home schooling life became a little hard! My eldest became very grumpy, stubborn and refused to take part in any work at all. I managed around 30 mins of getting him focused and taking part in some sreuctured play. After working in a preschool for 17 years I am lucky in that I can think outside the box and do things different. I followed his interest each day and we began learning about flowers, vegetables being in the garden observing nature. The set school activities went out the window on week 8 and we just went with the flow. I linked his interests to what the school were following that week if I could be generally taught as questions arose and encouraged play and investigation. My eldest is in year 1.

 

 

  1.                     ‘My homeschooling experience hasn't been easy and for most hasnt been a nice experience when following set work. We developed and had an amazing experience once we followed our child's lead. I feel my child has alot to catch up on now but know for now taking it easy and introducing different experiments over the summer will enable them to catch up a little.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Got the majority of lockdown, work has been set on the online learning platform in a variety of formats but often huge volumes of work intended to last many weeks. The content was overwhelming in volume and had little guidance for patents in how to deliver work or Spanish language presentations. Or the standard of work do high (gcse level English assignments for year 7 students) that it was immediately impossible to get my son to engage with the task.  The school have contacted us about four times to discuss and my concerns were heard.  In the last 3-4 weeks, my son has received one day per week of fully online led lessons with opportunity to engage with teachers and students. Enrichment lessons are available and work continues to be set.‘

 

 

  1.                     ‘My primary concern is that whilst I have been striving to continue with delivering school work in school hours 9-3, it has been impossible to complete the majority of work set. The two days a week my son attends in person because of me being a key worker; the volume of work conpleted is low and quite often unrelated to work set electronically compounding the continual feeling of falling behind.‘

 

  1.                     ‘There has been very limited feedback from teachers regarding conpleted work.’ 

 

  1.                     ‘Videos and messages from the teachers have been well received and helped us feel part of the school community despite being away from school completely whilst a family member was furloughed.
  2.                     My 10 year old has been set regular tasks which are easy to follow although the majority require internet access. The challenge is to keep him motivated and it is difficult to know which subjects to work on as the nature of managing a home, working part time and other commitments means I can not deliver a full time education. Tasks are available from across the curriculum.’ 

 

  1.                     ‘There has been three phone calls from school during lockdown. There has been no other contact for my child although communications to parents are good. There has been no online teaching content or simple contact videos from any teaching staff to the children. There is no feedback to any of the work completed at home. There is no opportunity to share work with other classmates.
  2.                     Children expected to follow normal school timetable.Portal available with work to be done. Pupils expected to hand completed work into portal. Homework also expected. Not huge amounts of interaction but teachers email children with extra information. Very difficult to get a sullen 13 year old to self start so I'm having to micromanage. Only way work really gets done is if I sit and explain. Too much work given in my opinion.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Until this week, organised 'packs' of school work sent out once a week for children to complete. However no followups or checks. No incentive for child to do work. No interaction via zoom or similar from teacher. This week they have started google classrooms, however its far too late in the day. Its a better system as the children have to 'submit' work.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘'Homeschooling' as they have called it has consisted of a series of worksheets.  My Year 9 was set 57 maths test to do with no support.  He has also not been chased to submit any classwork or homework since lockdown began.  He checks in once a week with his form tutor and is sent work by the homework app which he typically completes within 1 hour.  For my Year 10, pretty much the same approach but with much more work.  In the last 4 weeks, he has been in to school for two 20 minute 'wellbeing checks' and a series of four  1 hour 'Masterclasses'.  From the content of these lessons, I wonder if teachers even understand the concept of a masterclass.  For example, his lesson in English was to use 'more descriptive language, in Maths it was a A5 paper booklet with some revision concepts and in Science it was a verbal test of knowledge.  I'd love to understand how they think that is 'all year 10's returning to school for lessons before the summer'.’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘What is really sad is that the kids all have school laptops, they all have google classroom which includes a video conference facility and yet the Head teacher would not allow the teachers to interact with the children remotely.  One teacher was stopped from creating Zoom lessons which at least were a little more engaging.  I would suggest that for our school, it is not lack of equipment but lack of effort, care, motivation or consideration from the Head teacher.  He is standing as a Union representative for the ASCL and frequently tells the parents how he is totally supported by the Unions in his decision making process.

 

  1.                     For me, as I work from home permanently as a Learning and Development Specialist in the Financial Service sector, I am able to support my boys with their independent learning.  They are also used to me working and so the environment is familiar to them.  My eldest has an historic expressive speech delay and his speech was suffering as he wasn't having to form expressive sentences as much as normal but we solved that by him having to discuss what he had learnt at the end of each session.  My year 9 is exceptionally bright and so, as the work is not stretching him, has immersed himself in projects on space.

 

  1.                     My concern now is what happens in September.  Taking my year 10 in for his sessions this week, I have witnessed how the lack of school structured has affected the kids.  Some had done no work, some had worked out that the teachers 'don't care anyway'; groups were almost feral - and all this is in a semi rural village.  I would suggest that it is going to take at least a term to get the kids back focused, behaving properly and learning again.  And so what happens to kids like my sons who have continued to work?  Are they held back whilst the others catch up?  But what about the schools that have kept going with zoom lessons - how is that going to impact on mine that haven't been offered that facility?  My eldest is always in the bottom group due to his historic difficulties.  Learning is limited in those groups as they tend to put the kids with behavioural issues in there so where does that leave him - abandoned?‘

 

  1.                     ‘I think if there was one word that sums up my feeling, it would be abandoned.  My kids have been abandoned by their school; parents have been abandoned and left alone to find their way through the maze of homeschooling and no one is listening.  And yes, before you ask, I have offered my services to the school - I have offered to help with gaining delegates engagement over webinar learning, ways to keep in contact, structuring learning timetables at home, blended learning approaches etc.  Unfortunately, the Head teacher refuses to engage with me.  He only engages with positive people so any challenge is branded as negative...meanwhile the kids are suffering, Mine will be OK because I am not afraid to challenge but I fear for those who parents are not as strong.

 

  1.                     ‘My eldest sons High school have worked their hardest to ensure a continuity of education and ensure the children are ready for their GCSEs. He has two full days of live lessons, one additional live lesson later in the week and fresh work to be completed through the week. Work is submitted and marked. His form tutor is in regular contact, he also has contact via live lessons and email with subject teachers too.  We feel confident that he will be able to return to school and pick up where he left off.
  2.                     My youngest sons school has been dreadful. He has had one phone call with his teacher since March. One. The head had called once too, but only in response to my complaint. The head blamed the unions and explained that they had been told the curriculum was suspended and teaching stopped. This was never communicated and the message only sent after I had complained.’ 

 

 

  1.                     ‘My son received four or five daily worksheet links on the school website, there is no formal marking or submission of work. Parents are left to guess at answers or what particular terms mean, especially in English where the rules on what is taught are substantially different to what they learnt.’ 

 

 

  1.                     ‘We feel let down and betrayed.
  2.                     Our school has provided content and lessons but no live online teaching whatsoever. The content and lessons are so boring and out of touch that my children will not engage with them, and to be perfectly honest, I can't engage either. We've had a short phone call every two weeks from the children's teachers. No support for parents as they only want to speak to the children. The school hasn't contacted parents at all to get feedback on the emergency distance learning provision. Most parents I've spoken to say the children aren't interested in any of it, so teachers have effectively just been wasting their time since March. If there is another lockdown, I will not be using the school's distance learning provision as I can do it better myself. If I want worksheets I can go to Twinkl. If I want topic-based content I can go to YouTube. For Maths, there are plenty of fun games vs boring old worksheets all the time. The lockdown has made me realise the UK's educational system is old-fashioned and completely out of touch!’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Initial work supply, support and provision by the school excellent. Amazing prep in a very short time but after 7 weeks this stopped. No calls to parents/children. Support/worksheets only if asked for and equating to 10 mins work a day leaving me to buy and make learning materials (no printer). Eventually, videos provided via tapestry but the electronic devices in our home are used up by me and my husband trying to work full time.  I'm happy that it's the safest thing for our 5 year old to be at home with us but if the government are expecting parents to work and home school they need to assist with this. My employer has been very supportive but I am contracted to work a number of hours so if I don't achieve this I end up working at night when I'm also preparing school work. It's physically and mentally exhausting while ultimately affects the child.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Home schooling had been hard. I have a 6 year old in year 1 and a 4 year old still in preschool. It had been hard to entertain the youngest long enough to help the 6 year old learn.  We have all been reduced to tears on many occasions Over doing school work, My son struggles with his reading and writing and these things have definitely been affected. It was a relief when our school opened back up for 2 days a week for year 1 pupils. 
  2.                     Not only has it been a struggle academically but emotionally as well. I feel our relationship has changed now. It is sad. 
  3.                     They also had to deal with the fact both myself and my partner caught the coronavirus early into lockdown, this was very scary for them and affected their emotional well-being, trying to do school work while we were sick just went out the window and there was no support for this. 
  4.                     Overall I think our school has done well. They have set a variety of work, but I think the expectation we could do it all was too high. We have had daily email or tapestry contact from the class teacher but very little other contact.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Bloody hard work. Have been working flat out so have had very little time to supervise learning. Sharing IT has been the biggest struggle.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Home educating my son has been amazing. His confidence has grown in abundance. His self esteem and belief in himself has finally turned a corner, he is now willing to try new challenges and is enjoying learning! I am so glad he has been able to have this time to realise how amazing he is instead of trying to fit into a box at school. He is now achieving at a much higher level than he was before lockdown. I have serious doubts about the benefits of him returning to school, especially with the government's supposed plans... I am concerned that it will undo all the progress he has made at home. I think a complete overhaul needs to be considered into how this country approaches learning. I believe more emphasis on families being able to have quality time together will do amazing things for children's learning, more so than any amount of hours in school could ever achieve.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It has been virtually impossible to work from home while homeschooling my Year 4 child who has not been able to return to school since March. We now face a summer where childcare options are severely limited despite the Government announcement on 11 June :"We're going to get all schools back in September if we possibly can .. but it's going to be a big summer of catch up.

 

  1.                     "We're going to keep making sure that kids get the remedial help that they need for the stuff that they've missed for months and months to come so that they genuinely make up for lost time." More details will be revealed by the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson next week. No10 stressed today that such camps would last for the summer "and beyond"

 

  1.                     This Government have left working parents high and dry over the last few months. Now no extra summer help is forthcoming, despite a massive gap in the time some children have been away from school. Their guidance to out of school providers came late in the day & there is so much red tape over the schemes that many aren't opening and others have to be fixed groups of much smaller numbers. Parents are desperately finding ad-hoc solutions. What's most frustrating is that a month later children are all supposed to be back to normal for school re-opening. This doesn't bode well for that does it?It all feels a bit like the 'all children will be back in primary for the last month of summer term' that failed to materialise...’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have a year 6 child due to start secondary school and am incredibly concerned that there will be further disruption and damage to my children's education (and further negative impact on my ability to work effectively). The local outstanding Secondary School had to recently appeal to local businesses to get old laptops or computers for students without access to IT as the Government promised laptops were still not available. It's simply not good enough to leave children without access to education.’ 

 

 

  1.                     ‘Keyworker status for workers allowing their children to return to school has become more arbitrary as time has gone on. I know of a furloughed hairdresser whose children were given places at school as her husband is a fireman! This is while other parents are desperately struggling to work from home! All children are being disadvantaged through the pandemic but the Government must now ensure that from this point on they are given fair chance to attend school even if that is on a rota system - years or groups should not be 'cherry picked' leaving other children without access to an education in school.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘We have experienced very low and poor engagement from our school. The experience we have had since the lock down has been disappointing. The last two weeks prior to Easter holiday was totally disorganized - home schooling teaching materials were put together with very little thought. There has been the appearance that the school has been better organized since Easter holiday. In effect, it has been a weekly dump of materials on Google Classroom and little else. 
  2.                     However, there has been close to no engagement from the teaching staff. We have been told that the teaching staff in some of the schools in our area have been far more engaging, including calls to follow up on progress and actual feedback on submitted work.
  3.                     Submitted work has little or no feedback. There is no evidence that our children have been assessed and there has been very little feedback on points of improvements. 
  4.                     Some of the teaching staff have been more interested in sharing their extracurricular activities rather than keeping the children focused on the task at hand. They even told the children that their work will not be assessed - how do you motivate children to complete their school work when their teachers are telling them that their work will not be assessed?’

 

 

  1.                     ‘For some, this has not been easy.  For us, it has been, generally, a very special time.  My four children have had nearly four months of bonding time - they age from 19 to 9, and they have been camping together in the garden, sharing many computer games and other interests, undertaking various challenges as a group or competitively against each other. My 15 year old daughter was so mentally distressed by her GCSE year and the pressure she felt she was under - I was being encouraged by school to take her to the GP and apply to CAHMS - but after a couple of weeks of school ‘detox’, this lovely, fun young woman started to appear - prepared to try the odd new thing and get involved with some household tasks, like bathing the dog.  We now have much better conversations, and she is slowly treating me more like the Mum I hoped to be.  My youngest son is still in Primary - the school have kept in bi weekly touch, and there have been topics with lots of interesting activities circulated by them.  However, I had already instigated BBC BItesize Daily and we have followed this all the way through lockdown and are still going.  We’ve had some tough moments, but so much as improved for him.  He’s a year 5 taught in a mixed class of year 3,4,5 & 6 in a rural primary school.  He says the work is repetitive and too easy, and that teachers mark his book, but DON’T SPEAK with him about his work quality and ways to improve.  Too many cuts in education have meant classes taught by TA ‘s - often only qualified themselves to GCSE level.  I have a degree and could do better for him.  Even the school have mentioned that ‘many people in my position would home school’ - Is this the 21 st century education our children need?  No.  If we want a higher value, prosperous nation, with social mobility, we need actual education in classrooms - not child care.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have two kids both in primary school. At first there was so many tasks  to be done sent via school. I had two  different year group child to teach and lot to do.I struggled to keep the track and kids didn't feel like doing much as they felt not at the school because they kept telling me we are home not at school. They didn't go back to school when some year groups started because they were not in one of those year groups.  I was furloughed and my husband was working from home. But I have been called back to work and I went back to work so now I have less time to do all the lessons are being given. My husband is no help as he works all day. To me homeschooling was sooo hard and still is. I hope everything goes back to normal soon as I am not a teacher specially I brought up abroad and my mother tongue is not English.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘None of my three children have been in the year groups allowed back to school. I am a key worker so they could have gone back in a key worker group, but as my husband was furloughed so we decided to keep the children at home.
  2.                     They have done as well as can be expected learning from home. I feel my eldest at secondary school has missed out the most. She has just been sent weekly PowerPoints and left to teach herself. I have been able to help my younger two a bit more. We are looking forward to getting back to school.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Balancing two full-time jobs and home-schooling has left my wife and I completely fried. Our son is in year 2 and cannot self-learn, hence we find ourselves having to sit with him from 8am to 3pm every day. The schools provision has been excellent and they talk to their teacher twice a day over video conference, however the amount of work he has been expected to complete has been draining. We struggle to get him to work effectively, very often resorting to shouting out of pure frustration. Our relationship with him has really suffered. Our jobs are very technical, in telecoms and cyber security, and demand from our customers has risen during lockdown, increasing stress significantly. Juggling conference calls, presentations, design and analysis alongside teaching an unmotivated 6 year old about the Great Fire of London has been horrid. We must have schools reopen or we strongly fear for all of our sanity.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I feel totally let down by Thurnby at Luke’s Primary School in Thurnby, Leicestershire. There has been no contact with the teachers beyond a very basic written blog on purple mash. No work has been marked, no phone calls, no zoom or teams sessions. The work set by the school is nearly all from generic websites (white rose maths, purple mash) and is something I could have provided myself with a quick google search and use BBC bitesize. I would estimate that putting the whole weeks activities together and posting them on the website for parents to view would take me about an hour, perhaps two hours at a push per class!
  2.                     On top of this the school’s headteacher had the nerve to send out an email newsletter to all parents that showed zero understanding of the pressure parents are under to work from home at the same time as homeschooling. The letter had critical and threatening overtones and stated that they would know which children had not been doing the work etc. Unsurprisingly perhaps, although there was no apology for this, the newsletter in question no longer appears on the school website unlike all the others for the year! A nicer letter from the board of governors subsequently appeared instead, but the damage had been done.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘We have completed all of the school work provided despite having to cope with a full employment and it has been a horrendously difficult and distressing and ultimately unsatisfactory experience for all involved, as there is just not time In the day to do both to the best of anyone’s ability. Unfortunately the many positive media articles about great teachers and schools and how they have supported pupils and parents during this difficult time have absolutely no resonance with my experience as a parent. I can only hope for other parents and pupils sake that this is because our school is not as typical as I fear.
  2.                     Today to add insult to injury have received a School newsletter today stating that during the first week back next term the school will only be open to each year group for one day instead of three. How convenient for them as per usual! If I could feasibly move schools I would.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘No interactive lessons of any kind.  Work plan provided each week. Daily maths, English and topic subject interjected with others such as art and computing. White Rose maths work sheets used and have been the same format throughout the entire school closure so very repetitive.  Much of the English is taken from bbc bite size. Email address provided to contact teacher and can be used up to twice a week to ask questions. ‘

 

  1.                     ‘No formal Marking. Parents encouraged to share learning pictures over the email. One contact to meet the new teacher for sept has been my daughter’s only time in school (1 hour).  No work now being set on Fridays (only mon-thurs) and no work to be provided for last week of term either as school says they wouldn’t normally be doing much learning! This fails to recognise the difficulty this poses for working families they seem to think we are just all available to do ‘bug hunts’ or ‘den building’ which are the suggested activities to do when we parents have to work! Home schooling has caused strain and upset in our household which has been distressing. My daughter has stuck to the work each day despite the monotony. What she needs though is to see her friends and be in the school environment to have a stimulating learning experience which she is not currently getting. She misses school very much.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘We are both full time working parents and we feel we have been given the impossible job of doing a full time job with with full time childcare and homeschooling. As a mother, I feel I am failing at everything. I find myself either shouting or crying and thinking something is wrong with me. I am worried of my 7 year old son's mental health and wellbeing, my relationships at work, having no time for myself. I am nearing burnout and there is nowhere to go and noone to help.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Almost impossible with 2 at different ages, different abilities and different personalities.. and an active 1 year old.  And a husband with a new job.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have 2 primary school children (yr1 and yr5). I am exhausted I homeschool them between 8-12am while also working 8-10hours a day, by doing 7-8am and then 12:30-8pm, i even have to catch up over weekends. Doing two jobs at the same time. I do my best focus on maths, English, arts and some science - never able to do all the activities that the school sends via Twitter. We had tears, all of us! My eldest was very sad, no smiles, missed school every day and it’s hard to see how their mental health gets compromised. Exercise are done less often, more screen time.  I just hope they’ve learned something.  It has been a bumpy road indeed! They need the school as I need our play time! Play time is now homeschooling... it has change us but I am hopeful that we will come back stronger!’

 

 

  1.                     ‘No structured work sent home by school for the first 13 weeks of lockdown apart from 1 week where we had 4 recorded writing lessons for a No More Marking writing assignment. Access to several online maths platforms only with some curating of content. Fortnightly phone call home from class teacher to "check in" and suggest BBC Bitesize, Oak Academy but no steer as to what they could/should be learning, how much to get involved or help as a parent etc. Online platform for sharing homework set up in week 14 of lockdown and a sudden increase to 3-4 lessons a day expecting to be completed just as the kids have absolutely had enough of it all! Thank goodness for Twinkl and Carol Vorderman workbooks.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed homeschooling my 3 children since lockdown and may continue doing so in September. I had never expected to have so much quality time with them and it has bonded us all as a family so much. I think many people forget that it is the PARENTS' responsibility to ensure education for their children. The fact that most people in the UK hand their children over to good-quality schools each day is a bonus. It seems that most people now in the UK have misunderstood the role of schools: they are there to offer education, NOT a free childcare service.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Like many parents we’ve been faced with the difficult task of home schooling our 7 year old son whilst both continuing to work from home in demanding and stressful jobs. We’ve shared the childcare responsibilities but have both found it impossible to work and home school at the same time – our son just doesn’t have the self-sufficiency and independence to work on his own yet. This has meant us both working long hours every evening to keep on top of our work responsibilities.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Home schooling started well but my sons enthusiasm soon diminished to the point that we have been unable to get him to do any school work for the past 6 weeks and I’m sure that he’s regressed academically. He’s an only child; The lack of routine and structure that school provides coupled with near zero contact with children his own age has had a massive impact on his mental health.  He now has frequent and prolonged angry outbursts which have put an immense strain on our family and left us desperately trying to find a solution.  After contacting the school we had some support from the ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) but the resources we were given were similar to home schooling activities and we just couldn’t get him to participate.  In desperation, we’ve resorted to private therapy.  The school have recently found a space for him on one day a week but it's all too little too late.  The provision for children struggling with the current situation has been extremely disappointing.  The school have done very little to implement the government guidelines fairly with many instances of key worker children returning to school when one parent is not working.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Watching my son go from a happy, confident and bright young individual to one who is in constant emotional turmoil is heart-breaking.  The school have given us plenty of home learning activities but there has been little interaction from his teacher in terms of phone calls, video calls and feedback.  The general message from the school has been that it’s OK because most children are in the same situation and they will all catch up eventually.  There is absolutely nothing OK about the current situation.  We’re both exhausted and desperate to help our son return to some sense of normality.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Not the greatest at all times. Understand that the immediate closure needed a quick solution for homeschooling but this didn’t adapt once things settled.  Felt we had a lazy provision offered. A series of links to external resources. No video / online classes. One or two video messages once a few parents really pushed for it.  Seemed Like the whole set up was very much geared towards those stay at home parents who were able to invest the time required. If you sent work In for marking then you got a very generic response, that’s nice or we’ll done. Nothing substantial or constructive. When we asked for additional feedback, the response was that the teachers were too busy to provide that. Our son attended school part time as I am a key worker, it was made clear this was ‘not school’ but childcare, very often there was no teacher just a TA or LSA.  I have mixed views as I know things have been difficult and recognise that not all children will have kept up. I worry that those whose parents were Working full time like me are at a disadvantage in some areas, so I guess the autumn term will require catch up! 

 

 

  1.                     ‘Too much repetition and what seemed like easy options for the teachers. It felt like maths sheets were too easy and not stretching enough but no effort to offer additional tasks. I have purchase books to encourage my son to practice and learn more.   English tasks were strung out all week with too much focus on creative writing. No contact for the first 5 weeks until I asked to send our son in as I was struggling to manage work and homeschooling. The interaction in a bubble has been great for his mental health. At times it feels like the approach was geared to the easy option for teachers rather than focussed on the children. This was a time for teachers to really shine and I am not sure that has been my experience !’

 

 

  1.                     ‘At Primary school for my son in Year 2 no contact for 11 weeks despite follow ups. Very little direction provided, just a few links and the majority of parents believed the teachers were furloughed. Shocked to see no plans to catch up on the curriculum throughout the summer. Nothing marked throughout lockdown. Very different experience at experience at comprehensive school where work has been set and a lot more structure.’

 

  1.                     ‘I have kids in year 4 and year 7. I have a job that has primarily always been home based so that didn't require much adaption but trying to combine that with having 2 kids at home has been incredibly challenging.  My year 4 child has been amazing. Very motivated, organised and conscientious to complete  work but as lockdown has passed  has missed school and  friends desperately. Every day my child has got up and continued and been patient when I have been on a work call or responding to an issue. This has led to outbursts. tantrums and an increasing jealousy and upset as more friends have returned both to  school (key workers) and other schools of the same age. I feel very let down that school has not even tried to enable year 4 return even for a few days. Direct contact from the school has been 2 phone calls and 3 half hour Google Meets. My year 7 child had hardly settled into secondary school but was happy socially and established a good working routine. My child now feels very disjointed and unsure of their new environment and friendships and is nervous to return. They have had more structured learning, some google classroom  and has done some good work but as this has all been via screen has increasingly found it hard to resist the temptations of youtube etc. After nearly 4 months my child does not seem to have the ability to concentrate on a task without flitting to another screen numerous times during the day  which is leading to frustration both from my child and us as  monitoring is required to finish work. All this has been combined with me trying to hold down a job, take on the additional domestic requirements of having 4 people constantly at home and provide the emotional support etc. I find it unbelievable  and extremely disappointing that the Governments focus was on opening pubs and restaurants before getting children back to school.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Awful, it almost goes without saying. I have two sons in primary school. The quality of work sent home by teachers varies enormously. One teacher, despite saying anything we did was valued, then started emailing parents a speadsheet each week, which collated points the children had earned for good work. Every child was listed, whether any work had been submitted or not, thereby shaming those who had sent less or none. When I said I wouldn't be sending more updates as I was putting too much focus on the points and not mg son, she told me not to worry, as it had 'served its purpose'. Which tends to suggest it was exactly an exercise in shaming certain parents into action. Much of the work sent home is in the form of worksheets. This is understandable but boring for the children. My youngest son has gone from loving maths to hating it and there is a small civil war whenever writing is involved. So I end up doing a lot of my own planning, which takes up time at the weekend when I'd like to be spending nice time with them. My husband isn't coping at all well and I do not think the recovery of relationships within our family will be easy. I am currently working reduced hours, which is helping our situation compared to many but my bosses will not look kindly on a continuation of this arrangement in September. Frankly, neither will I. I think we all accept that it's a national emergency and we have to do our bit but when the country's social life is getting back to normal, it's intolerable that our children are not getting an education.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Year 8 girl normally enjoys school. Not progressing well doing lessons online. Bored and demoralised. Lacks the maturity to be able to focus for hours on a screen as tasks given are mundane and uninspiring. School is an outstanding one but like all schools it has received no funding or expert support from central Government. Structure for future online learning should be provided by the Government incase the planned return to school in September does not happen or there are local lockdowns.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘School has mostly focused on wellbeing of the kids which is great. Assemblies, etc. Very professional approach to reopening safely and good communication from head. Surprised it took so long to establish Zoom sessions though. Good amount of work set if you choose to follow weekly learning plans - foundation and enrichment.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘We have a had a really lovely time homeschooling.  Yes, it has been hard work and there have been some arguments and some reticence but on the whole we have enjoyed learning together.  We have planned our own learning as our children didn’t find the online resources engaging but that has been fun too.  This is time that I would not have had with my children and to me it has felt like a gift, notwithstanding the suffering that many people have and are going through.  Having said that, it has been hard to organise lessons and work around each other.  The only work I can really do during the day, in school hours, is to reply to and write quick e-mails.  Any meaningful work has to wait until the children are in bed and I am sometimes working into the early hours.  I am lucky that I have a job that can be this flexible.  This has had an impact on the rate at which I can work.  I really have to concentrate for more complex tasks because of the fatigue.  Annual leave will provide some respite in a few weeks, as will the summer holidays, but I do think the demands on the time of workers with caring responsibilities of any kind needs to be given more thought should there be another lockdown.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I feel that the support from school has been poor. I have a child that is shielding and the school don’t even know because no one at school has ever asked. I have had only 3 phone calls from school in 18 weeks to cover my 2 children. The first call wasn’t received until week 13.‘

 

 

  1.                     ‘There has not been a single virtual lesson or even a zoom call throughout. The work provided has been basic and simply downloaded from the internet. Maths and English for my year 5 and then told to read for 30 mins and practise the 100 spellings. Spelling have not even been split into a weekly set as would be the norm. My year 3 has received maths, a SPAG piece and a reading piece of work each day. Asked to read 30 mins each day and work on a set of 5 spellings each week.  I don’t believe much thought or preparation has been put into it. As a teaching assistant myself I feel that much more could have been provided based around the children’s usual lessons. Since the return of more school children on 1 June, I feel totally forgotten about by the school and entirely on my own. 
  2.                     I feel lucky that I am capable of locating further work for my children based on a full curriculum to try and at least give them the best that I can do. 

 

 

  1.                     ‘I am very concerned about my children’s education and the future for them. Trying to homeschool 4 children- 1 with additional needs has be exhausting and emotional. Whilst I love spending time with my children homeschooling 4 different age groups has been quite a challenge. The children have had no feedback from their teachers and nor have the school asked the parents how things are going. 

 

 

  1.                     ‘The child are missing the social interaction with their peers and it’s hard for them to keep motivated. Both my husband and I work so trying to juggle the children and work has again been challenging. The school have however provided work for the children to do which provides a structure although an online lesson or two would have been gratefully received!’

 

  1.                     ‘Little contact with the school. My 7 year old daughter has become completely disengaged with school work which is not like her as her enthusiasm for life school and dancing is infectious! We have had tears and tantrums and her confidence in her academic ability is at a worrying low.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Working from home and home schooling is not achievable regardless of the great intentions.
  2.                     We have 2 boys in primary school, the youngest is 7 and very much needs 1:1 support to maintain confidence and concentration. I am a doctor and have needed to work through the pandemic with no leave. Dad. Is an engineer who has taken the majority of home schooling. We had 2 days that the school would have the boys but they made it clear it was only to supervise and not to teach. We therefor have tried to keep them at home to do our best to educate them. Any days I get off to relax from the stress of NHS working- I have been home schooling as we don’t want our children to miss out. It has been exhausting and at times rewarding.

 

 

  1.                     ‘We have found the teachers at our school to appear lazy and disinterested in making contact with us or marking work. Thoroughly disappointing experience from the school  We need the children to return full time and be taught properly. 
  2.                     If there was a further lockdown I have no confidence the school would step up to maintain education.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘The school has been amazing running an almost full timetable from MS Teams so my son can see and interact with his teachers and classmates in each lesson. However, the effect of being completely isolated from other children for 4 months (and another at least 2 months to go) has had a profound effect on him. He usually loves school and thrives on the routine and interaction. Working alone from home has led to him gradually disengaging from lessons completely. He had become very flat and withdrawn with increasingly frequent angry outbursts including physical aggression. The experience has been far from positive for him and I believe the lack of social interaction has had a massively detrimental effect on both his learning and emotional health. He is 9 years old and in Year 4.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘My partner and I have homeschooled our two primary aged children since the beginning of lockdown whilst also both working full time from home. Challenging does not come close to describing the situation - we had to split our days so that one of us schools the kids whilst the other one works. Which means early mornings and late nights. The children have struggled without their friends and we have struggled not bringing sure how to explain certain areas of work to keep it along with school approaches. The work that was set by school was slightly disappointing - online quizzes and timetable rockstars but no lessons by their actual teachers. Later on we were supplied with oak academy lessons which were slightly better. But if this was to happen again I would hope that schools would be expected to actually stream lessons or record on YouTube. The technology is there but obviously schools and families will need help and money to be able to utilise these. If the parents can have online meetings / conferences why can’t the kids have proper lessons delivered. I felt towards the end that actually what we are doing is given by school to keep children entertained rather than schooled. And I really could’ve done without that if that was the case....’

 

 

  1.                     ‘It has been very challenging, having to home school 2 children, aged 8 and 12, and both parents working at home as well, with a broadband speed of less than 1mb. Despite asking for improved Internet to help with the schooling, this has been ignored by our MP and Openreach.   It has been very stressful trying to balance the day and I feel that our children's education has suffered as a result of this is stressful for the parents as you try and home school and work pressuring you to do your normal day job. On top of that, for part of the lockdown, we also had to provide childcare for our 3 year old. But the worst thing has been the lack of Internet in our rural area.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘We have found the effects of the school closures pretty horrendous, both in terms of the impact on our two young children (age 4 and 7) and on us as two parents who have both been working from home. Until mid June, we were working full time hours from home (itself not ideal - we have no study room in our house so we're always jumping from the living room to kitchen to bedroom depending on what space the kids need at a particular time). This meant at least one of us logging on around 5am every weekday morning, and also many late working nights for me (often working until 10 or 11pm). Juggling the (very limited) online learning that the kids have had from school has been difficult - they are both too young to sit independently before a screen and do school work, so need lots of attention from one of us to get through the bare minimum. My husband and I have been covering each other's work calls, and splitting the childcare between us.  The children's requirements are also very different due to the age difference, so even juggling two kids of different ages and housework/cooking has been tricky enough 24/7 for several months, let alone without throwing in a full time job on the side... however, the real concern is the impact that the school closure and lack of social interaction with their peers/ relatives has had on our children, which has made things considerably more difficult. Our 7 year old in particular seems to have regressed emotionally, resulting in tantrums, and refusal to do school work. We have good days and bad days with him. He seems fine in his academic areas of strength, but he seems to have gone backwards in his academic areas of weakness . We have built up a good parental relationship with our kids, but for the last few months we have had to also be our children's only teachers and friends. Our closest relatives are several hours' drive away, and because we are not allowed to stay overnight we have not seen any relatives since lockdown began.  We do not have a car and because of the public transport situation, we have not been further than a 2 mile radius of our house. Our son told us recently that he does not want to spend all of his time with us two. We understand! Because of our working from home situation, the kids have largely been stuck indoors Monday to Friday. We have not been able to take them regularly to the park because of our work commitments. Even though our 4 year old is supposedly one of the government's priority years, we found out on 1 June that the school would not take her year back (apparently because of lack of space/staff). We were totally exhausted and frankly, broken (physically and mentally) by mid June with another 3 months of no school left to go, so I asked my boss to massively reduce my working hours until the Autumn (obviously not ideal given the precariousness of the economy). Since then things have improved because I have more time for the kids and we are all less tired and stressed as a family. I am disgusted that the govt has re-opened pubs (amongst the highest risk covid-19 activities) while totally neglecting the vast majority of children in this country, despite the fact that covid-19 presents a very low statistical health risk to them personally. Our children have taken a massive hit for the health of older people.  The pub reopenings will likely lead to spikes and local lockdowns at exactly the time the schools are supposed to be going back. That speaks volumes about the govt's priorities.’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘Really good because school have been amazing.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Our children were sent home with a ‘pack’ at the start of lockdown.  This was 3/4 reading books and some worksheets.  We did this the first week, and then had no contact what so ever from the school.  I have muddled through on my own trying to teach a 7 and 5 year old, whilst entertaining a 2 year old whilst my husband worked full time as a key worker and I attempted to work from home.’ 

 

 

  1.                     ‘ Incredibly difficult - my children need stimulation and learning of new work which I cannot provide.  Our children’s education and future will suffer if they cannot return to school ASAP.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Trying to work and juggle teaching and then spending your evenings reading about it so you know what you are talking about .. it’s stressful and then you worry you aren’t enough and  the husband Not helping at all - it’s all me. Children are missing being kids and running around.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Awful. School provided plenty of resources via suggested activities online and offline. Over this period I was either heavily pregnant and working or furloughed, and now have a newborn baby. My husband and I initially split the working week and childcare/schooling but the pressure escalated quickly. By this stage we have all but abandoned schooling.  The problem was not lack of ideas but trying to implement them with two children of different ages while trying to juggle work calls and emails, pregnancy fatigue and pain, and/or a newborn. The children are a completely different mindset at home during a pandemic than they are at school in normal times. So the battle is getting them to engage with learning and getting them in the right frame of mind, along with figuring out all the logins to different learning websites set by the school and attempting to supervise and help both children  aged 4&5 with different tasks at once. It was enormously stressful and made everyone miserable so we have now opted for mental health over education. The stress now lies with worrying about how this affects their development but the children at least seem happier.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I have had a really positive experience and I wish there was more. We struggled a bit initially but I did some research on finding resources and a new routine but once that was established we were fine. 

 

  1.                     ‘2-3 weeks into lockdown our school released DB primary which has been a brilliant resource and support for homeschooling.
  2.                     Here is the letter I have recently submitted to the school. I hope this is useful to the campaign:

 

 

  1.                     I am writing to you following the communication over the last 48hours on Dojo regarding the movement of 1W from an afternoon slot with one teacher to a morning slot with another teacher. Full screen shots available.

 

  1.                     I am disappointed in a school, which I have supported, has failed to consult with working parents at such a difficult time. This change of timetable for the final 3 weeks of term has resulted in the fact that Jessica will no longer be able to attend school and will have to attend work with me for the next three weeks. The attitude that I should just “fix” this when I had already made extensive plans to accommodate your scheduling is unacceptable and thoughtless. Over the last 24hours I considered trying to change plans but the impact on peoples lives are to far too extensive to make it worthwhile for 3 weeks of part-time teaching.

 

  1.                     Here is why:
  2.                     I asked the school 4 weeks previously if Jessica and 1W could be moved to the morning and this was denied. My goal was to keep Jessica with Isla Whitely (her best friend whom she had been isolated from for 3 months). So for Jessica's mental health I created a domino effect to allow me to return to work and accommodate your scheduling. If you had foreseen your scheduling issue and put 1W and 1F both in the morning when I asked none of what follows would have occurred.

 

  1.                     Alice Buxton has been withdrawn from the school nursery provision and she has been moved to Back to the Garden. I have moved the 30 hours funding (Mrs Egan will be aware). She has been joined by Ella her best friend who she has isolated from for 3 months and together they are re-establishing bonds which they will bring back to Reception. This is also essential for Alice's well being.

 

  1.                     Then I negotiated with work to only work part-time (25 hours a week) and to come off Furlough (something which can only be done monthly and from the start of July). I am a single parent and normally a full time working Mother. I run a company and I am needed in my role as Director. I am responsible for 20 people and 20 people's livelihoods. I also had to convince another member of our team to only work part-time and for her childcare to only be in the morning to cover the hours I am unavailable. I needed to go back both to work for mental health benefits and financial necessity.

 

  1.                     To cover the mid-afternoon pick ups and eating habits of children who are now having to eat out of synch with me I have had to employee a Nanny to collect my children. Something Miss Wild is aware of. My Nanny has two other roles and is only available late afternoon. Also by increasing her hours I would further struggle to balance my finances so just “hoping my Nanny and Nursery will accommodate this change”(Mrs Lyde Dojo) is an unrealistic and insulting statement based and your lack of knowledge surrounding a full time working single parents.

 

  1.                     My clients, manufacturers and employees have organised their childcare, their schedule and their travel to meet with me in the next two/three weeks based on my hours availability being pm only. Shall I now reach out to them all and ask them to change their plans to accommodate the schools last minute scheduling? 

 

  1.                     My ex husband does not live locally and does not offer support.

 

  1.                     My parents live 3 hours away and my Mother currently has a broken leg.

 

  1.                     Key work provision – I am ineligible.  

 

 

  1.                     I hope the above illustrates why, as a professional in communication, I regard the decision and communication style you all chose to be unacceptable. I have personally been at the school gates everyday between 22nd - 30th June so I ask you why have you not consulted with the 5 parents this change effects? Getting a teacher we have never met to send a directive, which would financially impact me, is thoughtless and insensitive; irrelevant of how “great a teacher” (Mrs Lyde Dojo) Miss Slater will be. I have attended all zoom calls, and submitted homeschooling for both my children despite juggling demands. I have even completed the home schooling not done by my ex-husband. I have also ensured they have remained balanced and had fun during a challenging time. I have volunteered to not work at times to meet their needs, but in June I had to establish how I could return to work so I can pay a mortgage and save a business from collapse. I had worked around your scheduling to enable this and  then when I was only one day off furlough you change your mind. 

 

  1.                     So let me ask you all – what would you like me to do? How are you going to help me solve this problem without me incurring a significant increase in costs?

 

  1.                     Explain to me why other schools in Trafford have managed to reopen for a full school day,  and for additional years but Broadheath has not? If Miss Slater can not do an afternoons, why the Y3, Y4, Y5 teachers and even one of the senior management team can not teach for 2 and ½ hours when Miss Goodhall is beyond her bubble capacity?
  2.                     Explain why schools are playing politics with people's lives. This is not an opportunity for teachers to score cheap points against a Conservative Government and hide behind Trade Unions. If there really were concerns for our children's safety1 you would have serious issues reopening Owls Nest for the 5 weeks over the summer (hours provision 7.30am - 6pm). The difference in your stance on this is that Owl's Nest summer provision has to be paid for and generates income. 

 

  1.                     Moving forward you need to improve your communication with parents. Dojo is not an emailing system. Face to face communication must be an option. Discussion via telephone or in person is the only effective medium to settle a complaint. On Thursday I complained; a text message response is inadequate.

 

  1.                     Regarding Jessica's attendance for the next three weeks she will only attend school in the mornings if it is not inconvenient to my schedule and the meetings set. However if she is not in school she will also not be on zoom or doing any online learning. My time frame for this provision has also passed. I do not expect this to be recorded as an unauthorised absence because you have created this absence through your un-consultative change of provision.

 

  1.                     Finally, I am aware that I am unusual single Mother but whatever my circumstances I should feel supported by the school environment to enable me to nurture two strong, intelligent and magnificent young ladies. This week you have failed in this role, and therefore let Jessica, Alice and I down. As a school who states “We put the children front and centre”(Mrs Lyde at every event I have ever attended) I strongly suggest in this current climate you rethink your strategy. This virus continues to ingratiate itself into our society with no vaccine insight and there is a long road ahead.

 

  1.                     I look forward to receiving a response from all parties.

 

  1.                     Regards’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘Extremely hard with the number of different systems we had to log into.  Teachers feeling they need to set so much work to keep the kids busy, but my ADHD son found it all totally overwhelming.  There have been none stop arguments and very little proactive contact from the school.  Other schools have had live lessons via Zoom or MS Teams... helping the kids keep in contact with other pupils... this seems to be the normal for Private schools and has worked really well.. but not in the state schools sadly.  It has been really tough on all and we know schools have had adapt, but there really does need to be a better approach to this as my son's has basically missed 4 months of their education.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘My husband and I have been homeschooling since March 23rd. We both work full time (from home currently) so it has been hard for us to provide much support as our jobs are demanding.’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘The school have provided learning plans online, but these only keep our 8 yr old occupied for 2 hours a day and I don’t feel like he’s learning or developing. The school have not proactively contacted us to find out our situation and I feel like we’ve just been forgotten about. I’m so disappointed in the school. There’s been no attempt to interact in anyway and as a result I would say my son is depressed.  There’s one transition morning planned - for 2 hours - on the last day of term which will be his one opportunity to see his class mates and meet his new teacher before September. It’s not acceptable. There’s so much education time lost and no plan to make this up.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Shocking is all I can say. Severe lack of work suitable for my yr 10. Most work sent was quizzes and reading links which my daughter doesn’t process due to her ptsd.  They said no to live classes until last week due to safeguarding which I don’t understand as my Brownie unit has been running via zoom since the start.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘Hi, I have two children aged 10 and 12 and two totally different experiences, illustrating the total lack of consistency from local schools therefore from the dept of education in guiding them. My 12 year old son who attends secondary school In Matlock has been fortunate in that his online learning appears to have been well organised and set out for him. As both of us parents are keyworkers, but sometimes able to work from home; he has been old enough and able enough to manage his learning virtually independently. We have received fortnightly phone calls from his tutors checking on his well-being. I think this has been acceptable although am concerned for the fact he has spent almost all day every school day, sat alone doing his schoolwork whilst myself and my husband work, albeit often at home. 
  2.                     I have a very different experience of primary school for my 10 year old. I was sent links to a multitude of random websites and overambitious timetables to implement with him. This would have been ambitious for a stay at home parent let alone parents with jobs. School have not once called my 10 year by phone to check on his well-being. I was able to secure him a place at school for a few weeks towards the end of June given my husband and I are keyworkers but advised in no uncertain terms my 10 year old was to be kept at home if one of us was working from home. Given the nature of my job it was impossible to home school and work at home simultaneously.’

 

 

 

  1.                     ‘The stress of the last few months has been unbelievable on the entire family. I am appalled by the lack of support for working parents and no clear model for employers supporting working parents to make allowances for parenting responsibilities.’

 

 

  1.                     ‘I would say it has been pretty horrendous- we are a well off , well educated family with good access to computers and the internet, however trying to balance both parents working full time jobs from home with a 2 year old, 7 year old (with a learning disability) and 9 year old has been extremely hard. Our daughter with a learning disability was given no support under her EHCP and was expected to use the online resources set for her peers- this was clearly not going to work. She was finally offered a morning place back at school at the end June but this lasted 10 days before she was send home due to her 1:1 support worker’s daughter having symptoms of a cough. Three days later and we are still awaiting results of her COVID test before we have a plan for her return. We are now at home again with no provision- bare in mind that all hearing, sight tests, hospital appointments and play therapy sessions have ceased since lockdown down. The private nursery where our youngest attends opened up on 1st June - all is working well and they had an early plan in place which meant the transition was seamless.’

 

  1.                     ‘My son is 6 and has really struggled with home learning. He asked us ‘just to be his mummy and daddy’. He wanted our kitchen table to just be our kitchen table. He was regularly in tears. We gave up as we were worried about his mental health.’

 

  1.                     ‘I am a parent to 2 adopted children who, aged 4 and 6 (Reception and Year 1), have only been with us for 2 years. Parenting them through this time has been the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. My youngest has struggled terribly with not being in school. For the first few weeks, he would have at least 2 tantrums a day because he was so devastated that he couldn't go to school. They have both loved learning at home because they are intelligent kids who are interested in everything, but what we can provide at home does not compare to learning in a class with their friends. My eldest did well to start with, but then watched as her sibling had phone calls from his teacher to stay in touch and she had none. After a battle with the school, we agreed that the LAC co-ordinator would ring every week and she has been our lifeline to proving to our kids that school has not forgotten them. The big problems started after the Easter holidays. According to the government, they were both to go back to school. We were told that Year 1 were going back and given a date. I started preparing my eldest. Then school did a U-turn. Yet again, my eldest felt completely rejected and started experiencing anxiety, not being able to go to sleep at night and having screaming tantrums that would last for up to 2 hours. Eventually, school agreed to take back some Year 1 children. I read the criteria and believed that we would definitely get a place. I was told that my eldest was "vulnerable, but not vulnerable enough" and that she would not be given a place. I argued with the school and we secured her a place. She is now in only her second week (well 2 days a week) of school and that's it as next week they are doing transitions to the new years. I feel that school have totally abandoned my kids. We are constantly being asked to understand that teachers are having a tough time, but there is absolutely no understanding of what parents are going through. Due to the additional emotional needs my children have, I don't work, but looking after them all day, every day, with no respite has proved to be utterly exhausting. My husband has had demands from his work which have meant that he's had days where he works until 10 at night. This has meant that I have had to look after the kids non-stop for over 12 hours a day. School have provided such little support, contact and continuity for my children during this time. We've had workbooks which the kids sometimes engage with and they have sent videos to help with the work, but they are difficult to access and use as they put them on the Class Dojo app which is not designed for this and a nightmare when you want to separate what the siblings are doing. Work that we post on Class Dojo is not looked at by the teachers and we get no feedback on it. Both my kids have come on so well academically during this time and have progressed brilliantly, but this is because I dedicate myself to it every day as I'm lucky enough to not be trying to balance a job with all of this. Because of their additional emotional needs, I find myself have to answer constant calls for my attention and they also both struggle so much with getting something wrong. I'm sure that all the emotions are heightened because they are at home and that they would not be like this at school. The truth is that I'm only doing as much as I am because I want my kids to have the opportunity to learn and develop. I'm lucky that I understand how to teach and can do this, there are so many parents I know who say they just don't know how to help their kids with this stuff. I'm also lucky that I have had some support from my adoption agency who are absolutely amazing. I've never had to call and ask for their help and support before, but trying to deal with this situation has left me so exhausted that some days I can't think how to deal with the tricky behaviour and the tantrums, let alone parent a child who is so terrified and anxious that school don't want her, that she can't go to sleep and can only scream. I wish I could say that our school have been amazing and have supported us, but the truth is that I feel let down, disappointed and that they have not made any effort. I'm sure it's not true, but to only end up with 2 weeks of school at 2 days a week, when the government had stipulated a whole term, just feels like a half effort to me. The only saving grace through all of this is that we've discovered that the kids love the Oak Academy lessons and teachers and that they will happily watch educational programmes on YouTube! I'm so nervous that although they've said all kids will be back full time in September, that another U-turn will be made and our school will decide that they can't have them back more than 2 days a week and that we're still homeschooling in September. Thank you for setting this up and for finally giving a voice to the other side of this situation. It's all been about how hard teachers are working and no one has stopped to consider the families. My worry about the long term effect this will have on our children's mental health continues as the longer this goes on, the more vulnerable I see them all becoming. We need schools to be properly open in September for the well-being of our kids.’
  2.                     ‘The past four months have been a huge emotional rollercoaster for our family. We recognise that we are very fortunate to have space, a garden and with both parents still working we are currently financially stable. But we are also feeling the strain, the emotional turmoil and constant guilt that is a consequence of this pandemic and the homeschooling situation. As a bit of background, my husband's work involves him having to be in the States most months, what this has meant for his currently working situation is that he now works 14 hour days on video calls, with the UK in the morning and until sometimes 11.30 at night with the States. The situation has created more work for him, which is positive in many ways, but in terms of family life and homeschooling has meant the sole responsibility is on me, the Mother to educate. I have seen not gender equality as written in a recent article, but, certainly in my household and in many of my friends the opposite, gender inequality. I feel like I am doing three full-time jobs and it's relentless. I am not the main breadwinner, but my job is important to the finances of the household and my own mental wellbeing. I have struggled to find the balance between homeschooling and working and feel constant guilt that I'm not delivering on either. My children (8 and 5) tend to spend the morning playing or watching TV whilst I do work, I encourage 'educational' TV but that doesn't always satisfy. I then spend the afternoon assisting (I say that because I am not a teacher) with the work the school has sent out. This is made harder by having two children in different years and stages of education, and both where they need constant attention. I then go back to work when the children are in bed until I go to bed. The school has provided an excellent and extensive variety week on week of work for the children to do, covering all subjects. It is not expected that the children would complete all the work and there has been no follow up from the school to check whether they are. However, I have felt neglected by the school in terms of support with very little contact from them in the beginning. I received a phone call from my 8-year-olds' teacher after I wrote an email exasperated that my child was refusing to do any work. I was disappointed at the very start of 'lockdown' as we didn't really hear anything from the school until after the Easter holidays which is when a process was put in place to provide weekly 'challenges' for the children (Maths, English Topic work etc). In my view, the most disappointing aspect has been the lack of teacher-pupil interaction. I feel that if this had been implemented from the start (class video calls were only introduced after the May holidays) my children would feel more inclined to do work, as far as they are concerned it's me asking them to do the work and not their teachers because there hasn't been that interaction. I have seen a definite change in my 8-year-olds behaviour and I worry that this is causing him emotional pain. He has tantrums, slams doors, shouts and cries when we ask him to do any school work and as a consequence, I sometimes feel that it's not worth the upset. I am ashamed that I have been unable to hide my emotions and have broken down in tears many times in front of the children, this is not the person I want them to see as a role model, I feel I should be providing a stable environment and I'm not. At the start of this, I said 'I want me, children, to remember this as a time they got to spend loads of time at home with us enjoying themselves'. My children have done barely any school work and practically no exercise, I worry that this will only increase the gaps that were there before lockdown particularly in my older child. We have talked about getting a tutor once this is over to try and make up for the time lost. My 5-year-old is in reception and was already excelling compared to her peers in reading and writing and so I feel less anxious about her education. Teaching a reception child has certainly been a lot easier, we do reading every day and practice writing. To sum up the experience, the changes need to be made if we were to go back to homeschooling at any point. Education needs to be provided by the school and should not be the sole responsiblitly of the parents. Our children are the future of this economy, there needs to be much more investment in making sure schools can adequately provide a rounded education to all children even if that means it happening at home.’

 

  1.                     ‘Home schooling my daughter (year 2) whilst also looking after my 4 year old son and meeting the demands of my job as a solicitor has been one of the most overwhelming and difficult experiences of my life. For the first few months I was extremely grateful that the school were not putting pressure on parents to complete set work at home. They were of the view that our well being was the priority in the unprecedented time. We received a weekly call from my daughter’s teacher and helpful home learning pack that we could complete. A further home learning pack was shared for us to complete with our children as we wished. We were encouraged to share work our children had completed on social media but were not expected to complete sent it for marking. As the weeks have passed I have found it more increasingly difficult to motivate my daughter. As she helpfully tells me, I am not a teacher and I don’t make it fun like at school. The guilt I have felt for letting my four year old watch TV for long hour periods at a time whilst I try to do home schooling tasks (not to mention my own job) has been unbearable. In the last couple of weeks twice weekly zoom calls have finally been organised by the school. However, this largely involves some time talking to the children about what they have been doing and the setting or work to be completed during the week rather than “teaching”. My daughter is not independent enough to complete these tasks alone and so yet again I am expected to be teacher. I then have to work into the night or before the children wake for my paid employment. I have tried my hardest to bring some enjoyment to our days, regular scooter rides, kids yoga and baking cakes etc. However, if I am honest, I am now so exhausted that sometimes I just can’t do it. I have just found out that my four year old will not start school full time until 15 September. The prospect of managing my job and childcare for a further two weeks into September feels like the final straw. I was desperately clinging to schools returning in the first week of September. My children have been incredibly resilient, I however, feel like I am broken.’

 

  1.                     ‘My children are 8 and 11 - year 6 and year 3. The 11yo has been back in school for about five weeks now but the 8yo is still out of school. For a while all we had from school was written work emailed out for maths, literacy and topic; nothing marked, no feedback, noone seemed to know or care if you were doing any of it. In June we got a letter from the class teacher and for the last couple of weeks we've had a phone call from the teacher on a Friday - that's been the only contact. No online lessons - we've been promised Google Classrooms for several weeks but with only a week left until term ends we're not very optimistic that is going to happen. Our bright, cheerful 8yo who loves school and is both sociable and academic has been thoroughly miserable. We've done our best to engage her with the work she's been given and with interesting activities but it is so difficult and we all feel totally abandoned by school. Some days she can't be persuaded to get dressed and complains she feels ill. Other days everything is a screaming match. We are trying to work from home and occupy her and it has been a strain on all of us - I think someone has been in tears pretty much every day, usually her but sometimes also me or her father.’

 

  1.                     ‘majorly disappointing - no support and negligible contact from school. School only seems to be looking at compliance with guidance for the school and concerned with pupils who are actually at school - home school work set consists mainly of a list of weekly links on the school website - no requests for work to be sent in to teachers - my usually highly engaged and motivated 10 year old has lost all interest’

 

  1.                     ‘Not an enjoyable or productive experience! We have two children, a boy and a girl and neither are in the years that have been allowed back yet. Both myself and my husband have worked throughout the pandemic at home, and simply do not have the time to home school the kids as well when we are trying to stay employed (husband) and stop a business going under (self). Our school have provided some very dry work packs but to be honest the kids find them boring and we are lucky if they will do a couple of questions in a day of ‘schooling’. Unless we sit with them and work through the questions they struggle to work on their own. We have had a phone call every couple of weeks, but no zoom lessons etc as have been provided by a lot of schools and we have ended up paying out for zoom classes and additional workbooks in an attempt to find education they find interesting. Their relationship is also suffering and much of the day is spent policing the constant arguments and bickering.’

 

  1.                     ‘Secondary have been excellent, providing a full curriculum through an online platform. They listened well to feedback in the early weeks (things like making sure materials worked on a range of platforms, Mac and PC, Ipad etc) and have been producing very professional Sway lessons (including audio and some video) for months now. Work is graded overall A-B-C but not marked unless it is an assessment piece. Grading can take a while to come though, so my son tends to ignore it. As a Y7 he is reasonably independent, and there have been days when he says he prefers home learning because he can go at his own pace, but that's certainly not every day! There are a few teachers offering subject specific zoom 'drop ins' for queries but there is no face to face contact. My son has a 5 minute zoom call with his form teacher at the end of term, thats the only personal level contact he's had since March. Overall for a state school I think they have done a really good job but we are all exhausted.’

 

  1.                     ‘Please share your experience: It has been tough at times even though my children are very luckily, quite independant learners. It is difficult when both parents are working and therefore are constantly torn and stretched between all the demands. Ultimately children are suffering from lack of interaction, outings, and rely too much on the screens for learning/ entertainment and social interaction, even for sport. It feels like a lot of children, unless they have a parent who is able to give them the time required during the day, will miss out on basic activities which ultimately might impact their learning, let alone their mental and physical health.’

 

  1.                     ‘It is impossible to successfully split yourself in two - acting simultaneously as a teacher and an employee. We both work, and have had to try and split our days around video calls and teaching. This means early mornings, late nights, no proper family time and absolutely no time for any personal space. School have provided some teaching resources using an online platform, but there is then a strong expectation that children complete all the work that is set. Some parents have been 'spoken to' about this. Young children need to talk their way through learning - challenging when parents have endless video calls because the Boss expects commitment. Coping with their emotional swings on top of the adult roll-a-coaster has definitely taken its toll on everyone. And next up we have an unstructured summer with no kids clubs available. It will get worse before it gets better.’

 

  1.                     ' The Teachers worked v hard to continue providing education via an online platform. Morning subjects - Maths, English, Spelling, Reading - were compulsory; afternoon subjects such as French, Art, DT, Science, Music were optional but all correspondence assumed these were done even though we were working on my 7yo’s morning work till 5pm most days. Activities often factored in adult involvement and even when they didn’t, my daughter needed supervision and support FT anyway. I found myself having to sit in with the class to understand how to support her, mark her work after and submit online late into the evening. Any work not submitted was highlighted in red “overdue” letters as soon as you go into the portal. I’ve felt underprepared, under qualified, demotivated and under supported by the school. This all made parenting/stimulating/supporting my 4yo (out of nursery and with no homeschooling) impossible. Understandably, the 4yo’s attention seeking behaviours and tantrums increased dramatically as the situation went on. I’m furloughed but even so, layer on top of this grocery shopping, cooking, basic household chores, it’s been an impossible juggle. My relationship with both children has deteriorated as a result of trying to homeschool and I have genuine concerns over my children’s and my mental health.’

 

  1.                     ‘Both trying to work whilst looking after two young school aged children has been pretty awful. We have achieved very little with home schooling and both ended up massively stressed trying to juggle things.’

 

  1.                     ‘Both of us parents are key workers however we have a young child who was prem and has asthma and another school age child. We chose to keep our children out of school for the first 6 weeks to protect my toddler and his health. Home schooling while you are working excessive hours both in and out of the house was impossible with younger children - we were sleeping less than 3 hours a night to enable us to do the roles as workers, care givers and teachers. In the end we had to choose between the risk of putting our children in nursery and school vs the potential health of my youngest, which is an impossible situation to be in.’

 

  1.                     ‘We have a 9 and 7 year old at primary school, so we are being asked to home-school both KS1 and KS2 level children. Both myself and my husband are working from home full-time, in senior professional roles that involve managing teams and require regular online meetings and calls. The time we have available for home schooling during working hours is extremely limited. The schoolteachers provide a daily blog for each class with set Maths, English, Science, Theme and Art work, but there is no online video 'teaching' to support this, even when they are tackling new topics rather than revisiting previous lessons. The children can contact their teachers via the blog or email, but they are reluctant to do this. The school have said that we can contact them if we need help, but we just haven't had time to do this, and I'm not really sure what valuable support they could offer other than online teaching (It's not that we don't understand the work)? Our 9 year old can work independently, but we rarely have time to review the work completed and it is not seen by the teacher, so we have no idea how they are progressing. Our 7 year old needs us to be present while doing schoolwork and indeed, much of the work set requires an adult presence (e.g. maths board games, paper aeroplane race, science experiments). We have been told by the teachers that it is OK if we miss some of the work set, but the message from the headteacher is very different, enforcing the message that WE do not let our children down by allowing them to fall behind. We are being expected to work full time + often overtime to cover the work of furloughed team members AND be full time teachers to 2 different age groups. The parent-child relationship is worlds apart from the teacher-child relationship; children are just not as willing to work for their parents, and this causes unnecessary friction within our home. Once the school work is 'out of the way' (I worry about the negative associations of this), we have no choice but to let the children spent the remainder of the day glued to a screen so that we can work undisturbed, which is not the way we parent at all. I am overwhelmed, exhausted, guilty, heartbroken and frequently in tears. I hate the feeling that I don't have time for my children. I feel that I am failing my children by not being able to give them my full attention and support, whilst at the same time falling behind in my work, which brings with it great stress and many sleepless nights, only exacerbating the problem the following day. We rarely make it out of the house during the week anymore, there just isn't time. My children have seen me cry more over the past few months of lockdown than they ever seen. We cannot carry on like this long term.’

 

  1.                     ‘Home schooling is horrendous. I have a 12 year who goes to bed at midnight and gets up after 11. Home schooling is incredibly challenging and my daughter struggles with any enthusiasm to do the work. She desperately needs to return to school. I am a keyworker who works from home every day.’

 

  1.                     ‘Our experience has been hit and miss with homeschooling. My and my partner cannot work from home, our workplaces were open as they were considered "essential" but we are not deemed key workers. As such we are juggling working, household chores, childcare and homeschooling. I have two kids, one of them 7 years old and the other 3 years old. Some days are better than others, but we cannot do more than two hours a day or five days straight. He doesn't see us as teachers, so the dynamic Is different. He sees home as the place to play and relax. We don't have a dedicated space for him to do his school activities and my other kid obviously tries to join in and irritates my son. He also misses his school friends terribly. He has always liked going to school because it is the place where he would learn and socialise. We of course try our best, we always read with him every night, but his classroom and fantastic teacher are irreplaceable. Even though his school is great, I found the lack of contact disappointing (we have never been called just to find out how he is doing). All the contact has been through a school app.’

 

  1.                     ‘The demands on our family were enormous during lock down. Both of us are academics at a top university. We continued doing our work remotely. All our teaching has been remotely, with interactive sessions through Teams. Our work demands increased significantly as a consequence of providing a good support to all our students and changes in procedures. On the other hand, we are parents of two children, both in primary education, one of them with SEND and EHCP. The children received zero feedback, zero interactive sessions, zero video calls, just a weekly email with a list of work to do, two 3 minute phone calls in 4 months in 4 months. English was taught through Oak academy, but not feedback was provided. Maths, History, Science, etc was taught by us. My son did not receive any task to do during the whole lockdown. His weekly emails were for the class, but he is not able to work at that level, and no adjustments were provided. His EHCP did not exist since lockdown. I have resources and knowledge to home-school him, so I did my best. However it was extremely painful to feel left down. He was also not allowed to come back to school with his class and his teacher, with his bubble, when year 1 children came back to school. He was allowed only for 2 hours, four days a week, in a class alone, with one TA. It was extremely painful. It was as painful as feeling being discriminated. The whole lockdown was very demanding on us, it was extremely demanding, and we felt down by the school. We were also comparing what we were doing for our students and what was being done for our children, and that was very upsetting. The school teachers seemed to be completely unaware of what we were going through. One of them, which seem not to have any caring responsibilities, was sending one weekly 3 minute video recorded talking about how much she was enjoying the sunshine, long walks, having zoom chats with friends and baking....Why don't you make an interactive zoom session with your pupils?! Do you know how much time I had for walks? We were only allowed by the government one walk per day as a family. My walks with my children are also demanding. My son has a high mobility rate in his DLA. It was so frustrating. We contacted the school, but there were using all sort of excuses to not changing the approach. This is a good school according to OFSTED. I would have said an outstanding school before lockdown! ...during lockdown, extremely poor. They failed in communication, so I do not know whether it was their fault, or the LA fault, or the Government fault, or the teaching unions fault. What I know is that the circumstances were extremely demanding on us. We are very resilient, and we did relatively well considering the circumstances, taking day by day, doing our best, and being kind to ourselves. Despite of this,we felt we were not able to do everything that we had to do, so we had to set priorities and do whatever we could. We had to compromise a lot. It has been exhausting, and our wellbeing has been obviously compromised. It was also very painful to me to deal with this disappointment. I really hope the situation in September changes completely. Seeing what we were doing for our students, and comparing it to what it was done for our children, was an awful experience. We were completely overstretched. I did two very demanding jobs. I am actually still doing both jobs.’

 

  1.                     ‘School has been very caring and supportive of wellbeing. The work is only revision though- both I and child frustrated by the lack of new learning after so long. The workload is very minimal. Whilst this makes it more manageable my concern is there’s too little and not learning. I would have liked to see a lot more actual teaching over google classrooms. This too would have been helpful for working parents.’

 

  1.                     ‘Thanks for doing this. Here's an idea of how the homeschooling has gone for us. Our son (Yr 4) has had a Zoom with his teacher most weeks, plus two Zoom assemblies with the head. And he's been invited back in for a two hour 'farewell' next week. They have put learning in all subjects on the online learning platform and we can send this work in to teachers via email, although this isn't compulsory. There are some short videos available from teachers and links to other online videos - although this has been limited. They also put up creative activities and ideas for games - there was a 'Olympics' one week for instance. His teacher has read a chapter of a book every day and posted it. He's also had a 5 min phone call with his teacher every few weeks - I think we've had three so far. We've received regular updates from the school, which we've really appreciated. I'm not sure they could have done much more, given the need to teach the kids in school and respond to government guidelines. That said, the online work isn't particularly interactive and the tasks tend to be quite similar. The work doesn't take account of different needs to a great extent - that's left to the parents. Our son tended to finish the tasks quite quickly. As we are both working (or trying to!) this made it quite hard - we couldn't rely on the online learning to keep him going. There were hardly any extension activities for kids who needed 'the next level'. If the teachers at the school (or most schools) were going to teach online in future, they'd need training in how to do it - there are organisations out there who already specialise in this - I suggest calling on some of these to train teachers in online and blended learning. The expertise is already out there! Since the government abandoned the plans for all children to go back by the end of this term, I feel we've been forgotten about - not by the school - but by the policy makers. This is a horrible feeling - it feels like they don't care. And we're quite privileged - our jobs are flexible and we can afford to buy books for instance. It must be so much harder for single parents or those on limited income. Good luck with it all.’

 

  1.                     ‘Really supportive school where mental health is at the forefront for children and parents. However working from home combined with supporting two children, one Year 3 and one Year 6 has been draining. I feel I can't support children adequately and do my job properly. I am also lucky enough to have an understanding employer but have resulted to tears on different occasions whilst also balancing the needs of two other households who are shielding (my parents and in-laws) who need help with shopping etc. It has been one of the most stressful times of our lives and we are very concerned about the impact going forward on our children and their engagement in learning. They have tried their best and engaged but it has been a battle at times and hard when four of us all need one computer - which incidentally I had to replace during lockdown to enable work/school work.’

 

  1.                     ‘Awful No zoom or video lessons No interaction with pupils No telephone calls No follow ups No feedback Work isn't marked The school doesn't check on its pupils well being Nobody is checking to see of work is completed The school isn't checking on those they haven't hears from Not asked to submit or send evidence that work is being done No opportunity to link friends and pupils up together to chat virtually Licenses run out on online games Little to no communication from the school Do not print work for those without access to a computer No opportunity to access resources within the school Bulk of the work provided is a link to online booklets and pamphlets No work tailored to the individual child Doesn't appear to be curriculum based work NO TRANSITION DAY OR MEETING for the next year group - so after 6 months away from school children are being expected to return in September to a new classroom with a newly hired teacher that the children have never met whilst also getting to grips with the any covid safe changes that will have been made. The stress this alone is causing is unbelievable and not healthy for any child’

 

  1.                     ‘It’s been really tough to keep them motivated and I know they will be behind. No online lessons. One of mine is year 10 so critical time and I will probably have to find additional private leasons’

 

  1.                     ‘Not a lot of communication and only live lessons in the last 2 weeks. But overall not too bad’

 

  1.                     ‘We have two children at primary school; 1 in year 3 and 1 in Reception. The reception work sent home was very “light touch” and only took a few minutes each week to complete. So, we ended up buying our own workbooks and using online resources. We were offered one 10 minute support call from our teacher early on in lockdown and nothing since. 3 half hour class zoom calls were arranged but these involved playing a game together. We have not been invited to send our reception child back into school as the school wanted to focus on key worker provision. Many key worker children we see going in have one parent that is not working. For my year 3 child, she has been given daily tasks in English, maths and other projects. There has been plenty provided. We have only had the time to do the maths and English (up to an hour a day for each) as we are both working. The work given has been taken from BBC Bitesize or other commonly found online resources. They were often very dry in content and did not interest my child. We have now decided to hire on line tutors a couple of hours a week and to work through our own workbooks for the rest of the time. Again, we have been given one ten minute support call from the teacher and a couple of class zoom calls, which involved plying bingo. Neither have been invited to submit any work for marking or feedback.’

 

  1.                     ‘The school has put basic materials online and told us to use BBC Bitesize. We've not had much more interaction than that. It's a nightmare. We are both expected to work from home. I have the knowledge to educate my son, but I don't have the primary school teaching skills to persuade a 9 year old that education is important. It ends up with constant battles around doing schoolwork. We feel that he's doing far too little and are worried about his progress, and he feels like he's doing nothing but schoolwork, because it takes an hour to persuade him to do 5 minutes work. It's extremely stressful and has affected the mental health of the whole family to a massive degree. It is completely unsustainable.’

 

  1.                     ‘Really struggled having two children at home - Year 2 and Year 5. Really disappointed with support and guidance provided by school.’

 

  1.                     ‘Mentally frustrating and draining, hard to balance work, home and schooling whilst worrying about the crisis and also working in a high risk workplace. At times feeling inadequate, caused numerous arguments. Very stressful time. Feel my children have lost out on so much, education wise, though have tried my best. My eldest moves to secondary in September, feel he's been robbed of everything a year 6 should've experienced.’

 

  1.                     ‘Homeschooling provision has been very good. My child enjoyed studying from home. There's 30 in his class and I wished that the class size could be reduced so they can spread out a bit more in September.’

 

  1.                     ‘I have had little to no support or communication from either my daughters primary school or my sons secondary school. I’m trying to work full time from home and I just had to give up trying to make the kids to work. It was nice in a way to see other parents saying they’ve been reduced to tears as I have too. Constantly have to decide if you work to feed them or educate them. There was absolutely no reason why schools could not have offered online classes. If teachers cared they would’ve made some effort to support kids and they haven’t.’

 

  1.                     ‘There was a good range of materials, some specially designed ( year 6) and others just links ( year 2 ). But there was no answers or feedback from teachers which were irritating and kids didn't fill it like responsibility. Teachers just gave phone calls every 2 weeks.’

 

  1.                     ‘There has been zero clear direction as to what the children are meant to be doing. There’s been zero support for the children and the parents/carers. I’m astonished at the lack of contact and zero support provided in a time of need. I’m disgusted in the way this has been handled and in reality the children have clearly fallen behind through no fault of their own. Shameful!’

 

  1.                     ‘No supportive structure for children. No feedback on activities undertaken. No clarity on levels or achievements. Minimal (underperforming) well-being provided. No direction as to where we are up to and/or where we are going! Communication terrible. Support diabolical.’

 

  1.                     ‘The school have been supportive in providing materials and zoom chats, well being mornings but for those of us who are working from home and home schooling it has been challenging for both parents and children. The material set by schools has either been repetitive and recapping or completely new topics/skills set for example using a protractor to measure angles which requires either 100% support or with recapping a lack of engagement from your child who views this as pointless or too challenging. There has been very little follow up on the work set and parents have been expected to mark/assess our children's work having been given the answers for the tasks. It has not been advise in terms of how the teachers can assess the children's work and retain the examples re: achievement of levels. There has been a huge of activities provided for the , some unachievable the week it is set, leaving parents and children feeling overwhelmed. Only in the last month has communication via Zoom been arranged and this purely from a keep in touch perspective. Schools have been very effective communicating the current situation but it has been quite deflating to continually read that nothing will happen. However the most concerning impact is not academic gaps but the mental wellbeing of the children. Adults have developed a resilience to cope with these adverse circumstances, children have not and were taken out of their normal routine overnight with no sight of it ending. This creates hopelessness, frustration, anger and increasing anxiety about returning to friendship groups that have ceased functioning effectively, a loss in confidence and concerns over possible gaps in their learning. For the first time children are not excited about summer holidays yet schools do not consider opening schools during this period or earlier than September to minimise the impact they have had and start supporting children back to school sooner. Instead it is parents who are now trying to find ways to minimise the anxiety and frustrations of their children. It is essential that schools start to work better with the Government and stop placing barriers in the way through their teaching unions and realise the impact their decisions have had on the children, in not returning the children to school this academic year. It would be hugely detrimental both for the children but also for parents and their support/relationship for schools for schools not to achieve the full time return of all children come September 2020. The communication currently about this from schools is still vague and non committal which is disappointing given the Government's statements about it, demonstrating again that Schools do not seem to want to work with the Government.’

 

  1.                     ‘Homeschooling has been hell. I have to work from home and earn a living. At the same time I have to know what work is set for both of my children and get them to do it which is impossible. I have to sit with the younger kid whilst the work is done as she doesn't have the motivation, skills or concentration levels to do it herself. The older one is a teenagerr and I'm having to force her to sit at the desk to do some work. The first two months she was expected to learn just by reading text books. There were no interactive lessons. Now she has 1 or 2 lessons a day online. I have to know what lessons she has, make sure the computer is set up and make her physically sit there. If I leave it to her, she won't do it. Even when she's sitting there she switched off mentally because she can't take it all in. Not because of laziness, but because she is scared, doesn't understand the work and hasn't got the confidence to email teachers. She needs proper lessons with teachers in front of her. She can't digest the information any other way. I'm so worried about both of their mental health and academic education. My daughter's GCSEs are going to suffer massively and there's nothing I can do. She is year 10 and has done nothing like what she would have done at school. Our relationship has suffered hugely because I have to nag her all the time to do some work. I am constantly on eggshells. And I have to work and prove to my employers that I am working whilst at home. There is no time to breathe.’

 

  1.                     ‘Two children in primary school. One child is in a year group that went back to school when they were allowed to in my area. The other is still at home. The school gave us a pack of work for each child when they closed, and they upload maths and english to the school website for every day of each school week. The child in school is continuing the same work that is prepared for home schooling, but with a teacher. They do a morning message each day for each year group on the school website (sometimes this is uploaded for all days at the beginning of the week). They also got a list of Topic work activites (which hasnt changed since the beginning of lockdown), one child gets a single, basic, French worksheet uploaded about once a half term, and also some PE actitivites. Occassionally additional tasks and ideas are uploaded. They also get Spelling Shed and online maths such as MyMaths and TTRockstars. We can communicate with teachers via email (they are good at answering and will help with questions), but generally they would like us to upload work to Seesaw. Seesaw work generally gets a short comment of acknowledgement, but it is not assessed or corrected. We (I) generally upload pictures to Seesaw of extra curricular activities. School work only takes a few minuntes of each day, and the longer this is going on the less time is taken to do it. It is difficult to work at home and educate/occupy the kids at the same time.’

 

  1.                     ‘Home schooling is very difficult. Explaining things to children is not eAsy and requires specialist communication skills so not to make children despondent. It can be harmful to my relationship with my children as a mother and not a teacher. I love facilitating their learning under the guidance of a teachers expertise but not being responsible for their full time education’

 

  1.                     ‘Our experience, like most with primary school children and working parents, has been a juggle, a mess, a balancing act and I suppose an experience, though not one that any of us are keen to repeat. My children are in year 6 and year 4. My daughter would work in my office/box room, I was in the kitchen helping & teaching my year 4 son, my husband worked in my daughter's bedroom for 12 hrs a day, and I worked whenever I could make time. I get up at 5.30am to work before the children need me. We would walk our dog and then I would homeschool until around 2.30 And then I work again in the afternoon whilst Netflix, Youtube, Minecraft and Tiktok do the childcare. My year 6 child was devastated to be missing all the rites of passage associated with finishing primary school. Luckily she is a very positive soul and has got on with things as best as she can. She has also had the opportunity to return to school for a few weeks which has been a real life line for her. My son has been off school now for 16 weeks. He is a more anxious personality and has struggled with being away from friends and school. I really worried about his mental health and as a result we set up social pods with friends 3 afternoons a week that has really helped him. But he has lost the will to work and our homeschooling now consists of doing the minimum possible. We are lucky in that we have a house, and a garden, and enough tablets and tvs to go around, but even with that we have struggled with the intensity of being together, the need to have structure and timetabling at home, the expectation on me to help do the work and teach (our school only uploaded work to Google classrooms, there has been no live teacher contact). As parents we are not meant to be our children's teachers. We should not be expected to find the time in amongst our work to teach our kids, to the detriment of our own careers and relationships with our children. Luckily I work part time and get up early to fit in work, but my husband works full time which means I have to do absolutely everything else, and work. I'm exhausted, short-tempered, impatient and fed up, and it is very hard not to pass this stress on to my beautiful children. This is not the way life should be. Our school is amazing and they have tried hard to help but they are only able to mark two homeworks per week which are uploaded on to Google classrooms (just a couple of sentences of feedback) and they don't do face to face time because there are several children in the school who may not have access to laptops or being online at the same time and they don't want to treat any children differently. Plus they have a lot of key worker children. I am well educated and able to help my children with all subjects if they need help but the interaction between us has become frayed and, to be honest, I have no interest in ruining the relationship I have with my kids. And so homeschooling now (with my yr 4 son) has very much taken a back seat. I can't imagine ever managing to home school again after this. My son was crying again about having to be at home and not at school the other day, a regular occurence, and I asked him how I could help make him feel happy again. He said 'mummy I am just done with school at home, learning is only fun when I'm with my friends'. And so we sat down and watched a movie together and had a cuddle. That's what parents are for ... not for homeschooling their children. The children must all go back to school properly in September. It is paramount to their mental health, their relationships with friends and family, and their education.’

 

  1.                     ‘The material set by the school is highly variable in extent and volume (GCSEs). We have approximately 30 mins of 'video' teaching per week. Meanwhile, my wife and I are taking turns trying to fill in the very significant gaps, resolving IT problems or waiting for teachers to respond to basic questions. There is precious little teaching going on; unbelievably the head of our school made the decision that he would not mandate video teaching at any minimal level .Despite being in a 3 school coalition and the rest of the uk having to learn about zoom etc . Meanwhile the education department has been asleep’

 

  1.                     ‘1 primary y4 - school does provide work, but it took them a while to get organised and we got used to doing the BBC bitesize daily lessons instead. The lessons provided on the school website are sent weekly and have separate English, Maths, Topic and a 'daily solve' for maths. They're good quality, well thought through, and a mix of links to video / audio and worksheets. We look at them and do any that we fancy, but we more heavily rely on the BBC bitesize daily lesson. We occasionally email the teacher to check in, she is responsive and approachable, but we are mostly doing our own thing. For contact there is also a weekly zoom call with the class teacher. This week school is doing a virtual sports day where kids are encouraged to try some activities and send pictures of them doing them, they have also given the school chef a section of website where he does cook-along recipes. We do daily - Maths, English, extra subject (usually from BBC bitesize, but with leeway to do something else if we prefer) We also do daily nessy (a website to help kids learn heuristics for spelling) and ttrockstars and once or twice a week prodigy (a maths-learning game).’

 

  1.                     ‘It’s been extremely challenging. I am not his teacher, I’m his mother. I am trying my best to be both, but I worry I am failing him in terms of teaching - I have no idea what I’m doing and we often argue about schoolwork. He was behind in English and I am worried he’ll be even further behind now, despite both our best efforts. He’s an only child and has missed the social interaction of school the most. It’s affecting him emotionally and mentally. I’ve seen him develop a tick when he’s stressed (this has only developed since lockdown) and often appears when we are outside of the home, he often doesn’t want to leave the house and he can be very clingy. He is part of a football team which he absolutely loved before lockdown, but he seems to be losing interest. I worry some of these are symptoms of depression. He is an amazing kid and we are trying all we can to keep him entertained, happy, safe and educated. But the one thing that would make the biggest difference would be a return to school. I don’t worry about him catching the virus by returning to school - I worry about the effects on him emotionally, mentally and educationally of not returning.’

 

  1.                     ‘As a parent and a teacher I just want a return to school asap. It has been too much juggling work and home and my children are on a screen more and more as I can't give them the help they need. We are all tired and grumpy and need structure to our day and a sense of purpose.’

 

  1.                     ‘We both work full time and have continued to do so throughout lockdown . We have had no access to school for either of my year 3 and reception children. I have been starting work at 5 and stopping at 12:30, whilst my husband works from 12:30 until some time late evening. We try and fit in home schooling during the our non-working periods, but we are often being asked questions about work whilst we try to do this. We are both very stressed and exhausted. I have been seeking help for anxiety about my work commitments mounting up. My husband gets very angry and I worry about him getting physical with the children. My children are both emotionally scarred by the experience. My oldest child cries a lot because she misses her friends. She gets angry a lot and breaks her belongings. Behaviors that are new to lockdown. My youngest has developed a social phobia. If we have friends over to play in the garden, he hides in the house. He doesn’t want to see his friends. He’s always struggled socially and we’d just got to a point where he had made friends and was happy to go to school. Now, I’m not sure how he will cope going into Year 1. I think they will have to physically restrain him to keep him in the class room. I don’t even want to think of the damage the time of school has done. Both children have regressed and I frequently find myself in tears over it. I’m aware the private schools are providing much better learning support and have tried (unsuccessfully) to find my children places there. Both my husband and I have good jobs. But if schools don’t go back in September full time, one of us will have to reduce our hours or stop working completely. I know that will be me. I’m sure it will mostly be the women who suffer in this way.... We need the children back in school as soon as possible. We’re already past breaking point.’

 

  1.                     ‘I found it a real struggle having to juggle home schooling three children in three different school years, even though the schools sent adequate homework and help packs. I would love for my children to start back at school, for good quality education’

 

  1.                     ‘Homeschooling 3 kids whilst trying to work at home has been a complete nightmare for us - I nearly quit my job twice as it is not possible to look after all 3 children and do my job properly which is crazy with the threat of redundancy looming. Each child has different needs and particularly our youngest needs someone working with her in order to get any work done. I discovered that my 10 year old, despite appearing to be working well, had done no work for 6 weeks. Thankfully the school contacted us to let us know so she now sits next to me all day so I can help her as needed while I am working. The situation is not sustainable and highly damaging for the mental health of parents and children.’

 

  1.                     ‘We have done well accomplishing a lot of home learning. The emotional well being of both my children (one toddler) and myself and my husband is in jeopardy. My daughter needs school for her mental health. And so do we. We need human contact as a family and school is integral to this. We are home learning but it’s not enough. My daughter needs to achieve her learning objectives and that’s not happening as it is. I would prefer they did not distance in school if the covid numbers remained low.’

 

  1.                     ‘It's been awful on the hole. The school expected us to teach new concepts e.g. Time or nouns with no resources beyond twinkl and other freebies. They had no live streamed lessons, no video recorded lessons. The work set was poorly organised with questions like 14 x 9 for a year 1 pupil before teaching multiplication. There seems to be no quality control or consistency. The lack of interaction with the school led to a feeling of pointlessness with my kids and a loss of connection. Parents are not teachers. This is not the relationship I wish to cultivate. My daughter used to love school and learning. Now she hates it. It's unfair that I have been put in this situation without support, the guilt in her loss of interest in learning is heartbreaking. Luckily I've been furloughed from June. In April and May I struggled to make things work and find the balance. I'm meant to return to work in September. Sometimes I feel like redundancy would be better as I can't go back to teaching and working. There is no plan b for schooling. Why was it the last consideration anyway? The impact of taking kids out with little guidance for schools and the slow return was not considered properly. The emotional and mental impact on families will be significant This situation has set women back decades in terms of equality.’

 

  1.                     ‘1 secondary y7 - all subjects give work, 1-2 hours a week depending on how many classes the kid had in that subject. Work provided is high standard - powerpoint or web-based content (including video, links to texts etc). Teachers are incredibly responsive if kid emails with a problem. I rarely interact with teachers (have had 2 phonecalls, but am happy kid is supported). I have been assisting kid a lot - often just by suggesting they google it or by showing them how to find the information. I'm educated & none of the subjects are out of my ability range yet. I'm not answering it for the kid - it would be a lot less work if I just gave them the answer - but I do worry that I've helped too much on what to google, or how to approach a problem, or reassurance that their answer is ok - I worry about the transition.’

 

  1.                     ‘School and government should not expect parents to do the homeschooling. I am training to be a nurse and not a teacher. Homeschooling brought additional stress, anxiety and anger during the lockdown in our household. How on earth can I manage work, studying, cooking, laundry, cleaning, shopping etc with on top of that homeschooling at the same time? Schools had been one big let down during the pandemic. I hear countries like Poland, Italy, Turkey could organise a few hours a day online learning so why this has not happened in the UK? I'm still to hear from my daughter’s class teacher how she was doing in y4 as due to long and inflexible hospital placements I could not attend parents evening’

 

  1.                     ‘My husband and I have both been working from home full time since the start of lockdown. We have one 12 year old, who is very motivated and performs well in school. Since home schooling began the school has provided Show My Homework as the tool to communicate with classes and the work they are required to do, and have asked the young people to learn how to use Office 365 and all of the tools in it, have asked them to set their own pace and follow their normal timetables with no real check in with the children as to how they are coping with this - generic 'let us know how you are getting on' and 'we are here if you need us' kind of messages. The school has worked hard to keep assemblies going, to give feedback on work (of varying quality/depth) and to set a varied approach to class delivery - again very variable in quality. There has been no use of videoconferencing at all, which is disappointing - safeguarding and 'digital divide' issues have been quoted as reasons why they are not doing this. The approach teachers have taken to setting work has varied significantly, with some carefully following their timetable and setting classwork on the day their classes are due - which has worked best. The teachers who have set work almost as a 6 week project have caused most stress for our Year 7 child. My husband and I have both tried to work with our child to set out what could be covered in a day/session, but often the expectations set for timing are wildly out for a child not being directed/paced through it by a teacher. There has also been little/limited interaction between classmates, and no real contact from groups like the choir - which I think would have been easy to do online, and could have continued the sense of community/connection within the school. We are pretty lucky really, as we are at home and can try to squeeze support in around the demands of our work. Our child is getting through much less work now than at the beginning, and is getting down in relation to the monotony of the days...it is a challenge to get up in the morning, and easy to get distracted. I just worry about getting engagement with education back to where it was before lockdown.’

 

  1.                     ‘Two children, Daughter in Yr9, Son in Yr8 but in different schools although both State Schools, Daughter has had little support with her School,they have set work online,but there has very little contact, except the 2 phone calls in the 16 weeks of lockdown, this was only when I contacted the school to explain my concerns as she has been very withdrawn, been outside only 6 times in 16weeks, hardly bothers getting dressed and has done only a handful of schoolwork. She will be very behind when she goes back. My sons school is better, his teachers have been in constant contact with my son, checking his welfare and even having online video chats. They even provided us with a laptop to use. He has veered off course a few times, and it takes a bit of reminding from me. I work part time and am a single Mum. I can't wait for them to go back and I know they are both missing school a lot, they need routine and support that I cannot give them.’

 

  1.                     ‘I have two children - one in primary and one secondary. The secondary school has been fabulous - supporting the kids from day one online and via email and providing interactive lessons and resources. My son has struggled with the emotional and social aspect of not being in school and they have supported him in this and shown their worth. I pray the long term effect of not being in school is not as bad as i fear it will be. The primary school has been awful! The Head refused to do anything online or interactive - citing safeguarding issues, his staff's work load etc - so the kids effectively finished this year in March. We get materials emailed over which we are expected to print out - circa 30 pages each week (not sure what happens if you dont have a printer or the funds to pay for ink) and they are left to it! No assemblies online, no videos saying they are missing the kids, no marking of the kids work (what is the point in rowing and making them do something that will never be marked, apart from by us!). Just last week, week 15, the teachers were finally allowed to arrange Teams chats with classmates (after lots of parent criticism) - too little too late! The damage has been done. This is wildly different at other schools - some are fully interactive and marking work and providing online assemblies/classes, some are doing nothing as with our school. This is not acceptable. There should be guidelines and clear expectations set out for schools - they are paid to teach our kids and the kids deserve this support. There has also been a massive gap between those kids who have been going into school as their parents are 'keyworkers' (part time school office assistants are NOT key workers) and those who have had no interaction at all. The Government needs to be clearer with who is allowed to take advantage of this and who is not. My suggestion is that if one parent is at home, kids have to stay at home! How can it possibly be fair to have two parents working from home who are not allowed to use the keyworker place, yet one part time worker with a parent at home full time are allowed to use it? Again, put guidelines in place and be clear! People will take advantage wherever they can to avoid parenting/teaching their own kids! If this happens again and we are locked down again, we NEED a clear plan of how schools should perform and reach out to kids at home. The teachers need to be told of the expectation on them and adhere to it. If they are shielding let them be the ones to record the assemblies or do the marking, if they are in school then they can get on with this. I WILL NOT stand for hearing stories about teachers running half marathons or learning to knit or read 15 books during lockdown...and on full pay!’

 

  1.                     ‘Have loved home schooling my 8yr old boy. I found the school homework was good from his school but the BBC Bitesize was outstanding. I found the work from school not overly stimulating and we have had only one call from his teacher which was lovely but I would have liked more contact. The school kept in touch via email and pings and we would email work then his teacher would quickly respond back which was great. I brought some BOND maths and English books to keep my child at a certain level to his age bracket . I am self employed and work from home so was able to home school around my work. We did about 2-3 hours a day but kept it flexible to his mood/needs. I tried to keep his after school activities going via zoom or FaceTime on wattsapp . Overall I think the teachers and school adapted well but more priority from the government was needed to get the children back to school.’

 

  1.                     ‘Limited input from the school and that only came after parents protested. Children are withdrawn and sad- not themselves at all. Trying to work and parent and homeschool has pushed us to breaking point and the need to take unpaid leave. No support for parents. The unions are behaving disgracefully and no one is standing up for our children’s education.’

 

  1.                     ‘Our school (private school) has been fantastic at providing online lessons and set work. However, even so, it is not a substitute for physically going to school. My children are 6 and 3, both too young to focus on their own. They therefore require constant supervision, which is hugely difficult at the same time as both parents are trying to work. In practice, my husband (who runs his own business and therefore has some flexibility) has borne the brunt of the schooling and has therefore not been able to work much during lockdown, with zero earnings as a result. Both children’s ability to focus seems to have gone down over lockdown. The return to school needs pragmatic guidance that balances risk with a need to return to some level of normality so that parents can work again.’

 

  1.                     ‘Really disappointing. Only received one weekly email of work to do for a y4 student. No zoom lessons, nothing to encourage online interaction with class friends. No requests to see any completed work. No feedback as no work submitted. No will to increase numbers in school or show any initiative.’

 

  1.                     ‘I have 2 children and both of them are at secondary school in years 10 & 8. When we knew we were heading towards lockdown school sent out letters explaining what was required in terms of work (stick to a full days timetable) and where it could be found (all online). Unfortunately, the home school lesson seemed to take much longer than a lesson in school, so my children were getting further and further behind - my elder child got very stressed about this, my younger child just wasn't bothered! School have been very good at keeping in touch offering reassurance to us & our children but also to give them a talking to when needed! We've been trying to work at home at the same time as home school & it has been & still is, incredibly stressful - tempers have been lost & I have cried on more than one occasion. My year 10 child is now back at school for 2 days a week & he is enjoying being back in the school setting and seeing some friends. My year 8 child is still at home & we're lucky if we can get him to engage in 1 lesson a day. We're very worried about what they've both missed and whether they will ever be able to catch up - our feeling is that they won't.’

 

  1.                     ‘My son is in year 10 and he has had to complete mock mock exams (10) during the lockdown, supervised by myself a disabled working single parent. My work was mainly remote already and I quickly made a full transition. However, it does mean that I have back to back meetings on Zoom. Timing exams was impossible let alone trusting that he didn't use the internet. The only contact he has had with teachers is through 3 or 4 different learning platforms (e.g. Google Classroom or email) but nothing individual and if any pupil asked a question there was no response. He was given a 10-page document which had every lesson on it but no direct teaching at all. I suggested, early on, learning possibly via zoom or such like to the deputy's head however I was palmed by saying they didnt think this was a way of delivering quality teaching and that private schools were doing this to explain the ongoing payment of fees (obviously my son school is state school).To which I replied it was better no teaching. My son's motivation was already poor and concerns had been raised about this from school before lockdown. From the beginning of June my son has been going into school for 3 hours on a Wednesday, which he sees as pointless and also has an hour Zoom with his tutor group on a Friday. IN short the way the teachers has reacted to teach ing ouru children is been inconsistent and complicated and there has been a lack of contact overall. To add insult to injury yesterday the school-issued pupils with their termly progress report which I have chosen not to reveal to my son as I think it would completely deflate him. As expected, even though he did revise through "Easter hols", he did not do very well in his mock mocks. I am left with a really bad taste in my mouth about school. We live a very white privileged to