The New Normal

For some children, the school day has changed very little, with online registration, assembly and live remote lessons across a whole range of academic subjects. At the beginning of the lockdown, there was a degree of floundering as families and schools alike tried to make sense of remote teaching and learning, whilst sat at the kitchen table, fighting over screens and laptops. For other children it has been a very different story.

And so now, as we slowly start to emerge from lockdown, the dust has settled, the technology is more or less mastered and a new normal is emerging. Earlier this month, The Sutton Trust noted that only 23% of pupils were taking part in recorded or live lessons. For 77% of our children, their education is more or less on hold. Clearly, there is a huge range of responses from the various schools up and down the country, but no matter where they live, every day, as they log on to the Google classroom, students are united in their desire to communicate with their peers and the teacher face to face.

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has suggested that schools shorten their summer break, to help teenagers catch up, but this is a move which has been dismissed by the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson and also dismissed by the teaching unions. So, what is a parent to do? How do we begin to bridge the gap between those, for whom school life has not really changed at all and who are now striding ahead and those who risk being left behind, when they do return to school?

Clearly, there is much that parents can do with all the extra online help being provided in the form of Bitesize (3 million logged on the first day it launched) and online lessons courtesy of Oak National Academy, with its 750 000 lessons streamed on the same day.) But it is the Y10 and Y12 pupils who remain most at risk, who will need to make the grade with little extra time to catch up, who potentially risk the most.

As a mother of 3 children, now thankfully all through university, I was interested to read of a new venture focussing in the Stockport community, led by Julie Bradley and Lianne Moore – both current teachers, who between them have clocked up an impressive 48 years of secondary teaching. With immense experience and wide-ranging expertise, they have both been individually rated Outstanding by Ofsted, have children of their own and have acted as mentors for trainee teachers. Their business venture with Choice Home Tutoring will provide carefully selected tutors to help individual students to remedy gaps in their understanding, catch up on work missed and boost self-confidence and motivation. This could be just the extra help our pupils need as they return to the classroom…It would be sad to see pupils struggling to catch up, when there is targeted and specific help available. Seems to me like a welcome addition to the Stockport community in particular. What’s not to like?


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