Having chatted to several teachers over the past few weeks, one theme that is coming across time and time again is their concern for how far behind many pupils are. Even worse is the talk of the ‘missed generation’, the multiple year groups who have been affected by school closures, remote learning and lack of exams.
Many will argue that schools have done their best (and I am sure they absolutely have), exams don’t suit everyone (and they definitely don’t) and that regaining lost time with family and friends is more important than time spent in the classroom (and, of course, that is important). However, it is also vitally important that our cohort of years 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 pupils not only come out of school with the grades they deserve, but also without a reduced curriculum.
If we keep cutting back the curriculum, we are kicking the can down the road. When these children finally end up in their choice of higher education or in the workplace, it is highly likely that their knowledge will be less than in previous years. How does that then work out?
That’s why it is so essential now, perhaps more than ever, for parents to be taking the reins in their children’s learning; supporting more than ever from home and not just relying on what schools are able to provide. Without a doubt your child is most important to you and, therefore, you are the ones who will care the most and make the most effort. It is not realistic to expect our teachers to be able to do this for all pupils.
Schools, sadly, while trying their utmost, simply cannot provide the best for every child. During the pandemic they have become places of refuge for some, places of social care, places of ‘normality’, places for food; they are so much more than places of education. The team effort between school, pupil and parents has never needed to be so strong.
Here are our 3 top tips for the holidays:
1. You can make a real difference at home over the holidays by following up the work being done at school using games, quizzes and puzzles. this is stealth learning at its best and is fun for the whole family. Just make sure your resources are curriculum linked.
2. You can prepare your child for next term by getting a list of topics from your teachers now and working through some of them ahead of the return to school. Even if you just get them used to specific words for various topics, they will go back feeling confident when the teacher asks that first question next year.
3. Have fun at home using multisensory teaching techniques to make and build curriculum based models or drawings. You don’t need to artistic and you can learn together. Make a cell, a heart or a digestive system out of playdough, build a Roman villa , Roman baths or even a whole town, build a Stone Age house from clay, or DNA from shoelaces. There are loads of ideas to keep everyone engaged and learning over the holidays but making it FUN!