Home learning and other support (17 April 2020)

Friday 17 April 2020

We hope you’re doing ok.

The last couple of weeks should’ve been the school Easter holidays – they still were technically, but we know they didn’t quite feel the same. We hope you managed to find some ways to relax a bit. That might have included the Easter activities we presented:

On Monday, the daily home learning tasks get going again. It’ll be tough for everyone getting back into that routine, but do try – it might help to agree again the expectations around a daily timetable, and we’d suggest you even agree how your child approaches the learning (this could include an agreed amount of time to talk, and an agreed amount of time to work in silence – this might help you get on with other things).

This article sets out five top tips:

Routines and boundaries are really important.

‘Children will need them as the structure of their lives has suddenly been altered. This holds for everyone in the household. Far easier said than done, but critical over the long haul. Establishing start times, breaks and end times will help everyone, and many families will need support to plan for that.’

It’s OK not to be OK.

‘It’s crucial that there are rules and boundaries in place, but parents must know that it’s better to bend them than allow them to break. They are in charge, and it’s [difficult]… Some days will be great – others a complete flop. Fine.’

Parents need to know why and how work has been set. 

If you’re wondering about a home learning task that’s been set, please make sure you get in touch with your child’s class teacher – they’ll remind you of their email addresses in their website homework pages.

Technology can help and hinder both students and parents.

‘For young people, screen time is social gold dust… gentle monitoring… is likely to work better than an outright ban.’

Teaching is stressful.

‘The importance of self-care and wellbeing for parent-teachers can’t be overstated, especially with no colleagues to sound off to after a bad day. Having a point of contact with the school or a peer network can make all the difference between surviving and thriving.’ …so again, if you need to email your child’s teacher, please do.


And on a separate subject…

Free school meals – are you eligible?

In these challenging times, more of you might now be eligible so that your child can get free school meals (FSM). This could well be the case if your circumstances have changed as a result of work or income being affected.

If you’re waiting for a decision of Universal Credit (UC), you can still submit an application (even though the decision won’t be reached until your Universal Credit is confirmed). If you’re successful with your FSM application, then your child will keep their entitlement until the end of the Universal Credit roll out (which is currently set for 2023) and then until the end of their primary phase. Therefore, it’s worth submitting an application now, even if you’re likely to return to work in the near future!

Read more about the FSM eligibility criteria and how to claim.