Advice for parents with children at home due to coronavirus

With schools closing across the UK due to the coronavirus crisis, many parents are facing the prospect of overseeing their child's daily education for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, 19th March 2020, 5:20 pm

It is understood that many schools and colleges have been preparing packs and materials for children to use at home.

A number of charities and education firms are offering up websites and online resources.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said in a letter to members: "You may already have been producing packs of resources, links to online materials, or other approaches to try to keep young people engaged in learning if they have online access at home. A group of edtech experts have begun to co-ordinate resources."

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A number of charities and education firms are offering up websites and online resources

The BBC is also helping to co-ordinate resources, Mr Barton added.

He went on to say: "These are early days. Most important, I would suggest, would be to try to establish a link with your parents and students - such as a twice-weekly email newsletter in which you explain what's happening, suggest activities for pupils, build a sense that your school or college remains committed to helping children to remain engaged in learning."

The National Literacy Trust said it has launched an online zone for parents looking for ideas and activities whilst their children are home due to school closures.

It includes reading and writing activities, book lists, videos, competitions and reading challenges.

Chief executive Jonathan Douglas said: "We want to ensure that every parent across the UK has access to a wide range of exciting activities that will engage their children at home whilst also supporting their literacy development."

Home learning provider Exemplar Education said it has written to schools offering free access to its online maths tuition programme, with lessons available for youngsters aged five to 16.

The offer is intended to run for 30 days.

Youth music development charity NYMAZ is understood to be putting together a package of support to help music teachers and music hubs to offer online lessons and events.

Meanwhile, the British Psychological Society's Division of Educational and Child Psychology (DECP) has published a series of tips for schools and parents.

It says that children can sometimes believe they are responsible for events beyond their control and suggests that mothers, fathers and carers reassure youngsters that it is the job of adults to keep them safe.

The advice also says that children should be helped to maintain their friendships through calls, online communication and letters, and that a routine and structure can help youngsters feel secure in uncertain times.

It also says: "Don't put too much pressure on doing academic work. Parents and carers aren't teachers, and it is important to also spend time building relationships, enjoying shared activities and reassuring children."