With schools closed until further notice, parents are trying to work out how they can keep their children engaged and learning successfully at home. Many parents will be juggling work commitments alongside taking on their new role as ‘home school leader’.
On top of these pressures, you have probably been asking yourself the all-important question: with schools closed, how do I make sure my child doesn’t fall behind? Research shows that even just over the 6-week summer holiday, children shift back in their academic ability and lose skills and knowledge. Indeed, children achieve higher marks in tests before the summer holiday than when they return to school. With the current school closures potentially lasting until the new academic year in September, there is huge potential for children of all ages to fall seriously behind in their learning. To add to this, according to educational theory, the final school term that follows the Easter holidays is the term when the greatest consolidation and acceleration as a learner happens. Our children have lost that.
How are schools adapting to the situation? Schools have been quickly trying to come up with ways to keep children following subject content. Unfortunately, most schools are unable to offer online ‘virtual classroom-style’ teaching because teachers generally have 30 children in each class. It may be extremely difficult or impossible to teach this many children on an online platform. Of course, some teachers will also be in school helping to care for the children of key workers. Other teachers may be caring for their own children or may, unfortunately, be unwell. The majority of children will instead be set work by their schools in the way of remote learning i.e. packs of work which really require direction, explanation and teaching. You have probably already faced all sorts of questions from your children about tasks they have been set and don’t know how to complete!
Independent work is not enough. Younger children have not yet developed the skills needed to learn and work independently. Older children will quickly fall out of the learning environment and find other things to do (the world of social media, Netflix and video gaming is all too tempting!). Without structured teaching, where teachers have an objective, a lesson plan and follow up consolidation work, there seems to be little doubt that children will be immensely affected by such a huge amount of time out of their school life.
How is VAKS responding to the situation?
At VAKS, we have used our 18 years of experience to develop an online teaching and support service. Our specialist tutors are continuing to provide our expert programmes in the core subjects – maths, English and science – via our safe virtual classrooms. Alongside our usual tutoring, we are also offering:
- Homework clinics, including support with work set by schools
- Creative writing sessions
- Times tables and arithmetic classes
- Pre-A-Level study skills sessions
We are doing all we can to inspire and support the education system and our students at this unprecedented time. By focusing on the core subjects and providing an extensive support service, we aim to maintain and accelerate children’s learning and prepare them for the return to school in the next academic year.
Please get in touch to see how we can help you. Bursaries and government funding may be available.