One question that parents have asked me a lot recently is about summer school options. The UK politicians are behind the media stories that “children are behind academically” and some parents are concerned.
I am here to reassure you. Children are not behind, there is no need to panic. This time has been tough for sure but there are better routes than forcing children to do hours of summer school. Children have been learning during the lockdown!
Due to Covid and the lockdowns, children have missed time in school. We can’t do anything about that now. But there have been many positives that the media doesn’t seem to be focusing on. It is time to get some balance. Let’s look at the positives:
What we have learned more than anything is the resilience of our young people. They have arguably had it tougher than many adults but they have shown themselves to be tough, capable and able to get on with life.
This time has allowed children to spend more time with their families than usual. The average child usually gets their parent for a few hours of day when they are in school and most of that time is rushed, stressed and full of time pressure to make sure everyone gets to school or work on time. The lockdown and school closure have lead to more relaxed days in many instances.
School technology has accelerated. I recently went to a great set of conferences in the EdTech world and there have been some amazing positives in the world of education with schools and teachers embracing technology to help teach students. Much of this will have great benefits long after Covid. Our students too have become experts at a greater range of technology for education than ever before.
For once, children have been able to work at their own pace and we have had periods of student-centred learning. Having worked in classrooms for years, I know this is the goal of many teachers but with 30+ children in a class it is difficult. However, with children all working individually they can follow the time frames and focus that they need to.
What is useful?
Despite all these positives there are of course some things that children have missed out on. Most importantly, this is time with their friends, working in groups, playing together and the social aspects of life. I think these are the most important to focus on post-lockdown. The worst thing for many children would be to do even more lessons in school during a summer they could get outside and see other people safely.
There are some real concerns about the long-term mental health impacts of this lockdown.
To help, we are offering a free introduction to children’s mental health course that parents can take to learn more about how they can support their children.
We hope this will help provide some support to those children and families that need it.