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Learning outside school

This is not education as usual: learning at home is not like being at school.

Primary

  1. Normal education has been suspended at this time and neither schools nor parents/carers can, or should, replicate the regular school day.
  2. Taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial at this time: this goes for children, parents/carers and teachers. Keeping minds active and happy is most important. Spending some time each day outdoors for fresh air and exercise is really important; laughing and eating together are things your child will remember. See our guidance on child wellbeing here.
  3. You are not expected to become teachers and recreate the classroom at home. Many children need a lot of guidance and cannot be left for long periods of time to complete complex tasks. We are asking schools to suggest activities that children can complete on their own, in recognition that parents and carers might struggle to assist with schoolwork for various reasons.
  4. Most schools are sending suggested work and activities home to help parents and carers keep their children engaged in learning. Ideally there will be some work that does not require access to the internet or use of devices, because families may not have them, because parents/carers may be using them for work, and because not all learning should take place in front of a screen. Worksheets and textbook pages might be used if children have them at home.
  5. Most children love to use computers and other devices, and this can encourage them to do educational activities. However, a limit on screen time is sensible to limit risk of headaches, poor sleep and low concentration levels.
  6. Try to get your child to do some tasks that require sitting at a desk or table but keep these to a minimum. Creative activities like colouring, puzzles, jigsaws, Lego, imaginative play and so on, are highly educational and beneficial to mental health and wellbeing.
  7. Doing short tasks and breaking down longer tasks can help children complete them. Depending on the age of the child and your family circumstances, 2 to 3 hours of schoolwork a day is plenty.
  8. Schools should provide a list of flexible tasks that cover different areas of the curriculum. Allow your child to choose the tasks that interest them, and the ones you feel you can manage. Don’t worry if this approach doesn’t work. Leave it and do something less formal or more relaxing.
  9. Involving children in household activities, such as sorting clean washing, cooking, baking or tidying, can be an enjoyable way to cover a bit of maths, English and science, for example by weighing ingredients, adding up money, or writing out a recipe.
  10. Watching TV programmes such as documentaries and drama, reading, playing together and talking, are all educational too.

Secondary

  1. Normal education has been suspended at this time and neither schools nor parents/carers can, or should, replicate the regular school day.
  2. Taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial at this time: this goes for children, parents, carers and teachers. Keeping minds active and happy is most important. Spending some time each day outdoors for fresh air and exercise is really important; laughing and eating together are things your child will remember. See our guidance on child wellbeing here.
  3. Do not expect teachers to live-stream lessons from their homes, nor engage in any video-calling (except in specific special circumstances). It is not possible to recreate the classroom in this way, and the NEU has advised teachers not to do so. Some schools might offer videoed lessons, but this is unlikely to be all lessons, or all teachers. Any school that does this must have systems in place to keep pupils and teachers safe. You should make sure that you and your child know and follow the rules.
  4. You are not expected to become teachers and recreate the classroom at home. Many children need a lot of guidance and cannot be left for long periods of time to complete complex tasks. We are asking schools to suggest activities that children can complete on their own, in recognition that parents/carers might struggle to assist with schoolwork for various reasons. As children get older, schoolwork becomes more complex, and most parents/carers will struggle to support their child in all (or any) subjects.
  5. Most young people love to use computers and other devices, and this can encourage them to do educational activities. However, a limit on screen time is sensible to limit risk of headaches, poor sleep and low concentration levels. We are asking schools to make work available that does not require access to the internet or use of devices, because families may not have them, because parents/carers may be using them for work, and because not all learning should take place in front of a screen.
  6. Children, young people and adults are used to routine and having structure can be useful for learning. This is not normal school, so a rigid timetable is not necessary, but a rough outline of a day can help to focus on tasks your child wants or needs to do.
  7. Key Stage 3 pupils (year 7-9) will need a lot more help and supervision than older pupils. GCSE and post-16 learners might be able to work more independently, but this will depend on the child. You will know what support your child usually needs from you for homework. Teachers are working, and in most instances will be available by email to support your child, but you shouldn’t expect immediate responses, as many teachers are also managing their work around caring responsibilities.
  8. All exams have been cancelled for this summer. If your child was due to sit exams, work from their courses can still be completed. Schools and teachers will be setting work for these year groups in line with their school-wide policy. This work is for teaching and learning and is not necessary to help assist decisions about exam grading. Further information about how exam grades will be awarded is available here.
  9. You should encourage your child to complete work that is set by school as far as it is possible, but you are not obliged to ensure they complete every task. Schools are aware that pupils will have completed work to varying degrees and will factor that into their plans for when school re-opens. If you feel your approach is not working, don’t worry. Leave it and do something less formal or more relaxing.
  10. Variety is key to enthusiasm and completion. Allowing your child to choose the tasks that interest them makes it more likely they will complete them. You could ask them to do bite-sized chunks of work, which might become part of a larger project. Watching TV programmes such as documentaries and drama, reading, playing together and talking, are all educational too.

Advice

Advice for parents and carers on key areas of concern relating to coronavirus

 

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