I’ve got five school-age grandchildren and one starting school in September. Assuming that happens, that is – but anyway, he will be enrolled in school then. Dilly is a high school maths teacher and we were talking about returning to school, last week. Everyone in our family is dubious about the wisdom of sending the youngest ones in first. The systems are being trialled and it’s not really fair on them. Added to that, many village schools are fairly small and the “bubbles” of pupils and teachers that they are expected to have will be difficult to manage, if all the eligible children go in. If any of the children, parents or teachers in a bubble are ill or have symptoms of illness, everyone concerned will have to self-isolate for a fortnight or until results of tests come back, so many children and parents could be back home soon anyway.
Dilly said that some of her pupils have come on a good deal in the last few weeks and have sent in better work than they usually do at school. I asked if that was some of the quieter ones, who find classroom work with their peers distracting? On the contrary, the ones who are doing best are those who are usually the disruptive ones. Without any friends to impress, they are concentrating on their work, asking for help and appreciating that they get it.
I think that fear of looking small by admitting they don’t know something and fear of failure are factors too. I guess most of us recognise that in ourselves. Dilly says that she is working long hours and giving students as much help as she can and, of course, supporting her three with their home work. Support from schools varies a lot, I gather, even within schools from different teachers.
Weeza is doing most of the home schooling in their family, because Phil is working from home. Each child has an office setup in a separate room and she wafts from one to the other when they need her. She’s finding it hard work but I think the expectation of a routine helps and they get input from the teachers with worksheets, homework and so on. They know they’re working school hours, more or less, so they accept it as a temporary normal without grumbling, it seems. They happily told me of the arrangements, anyway, without making it sound like a dreaded experience. Gus’s primary school is due to reopen in June, though not for his year group. It’s a small school and completely unsuitable for the demands made by the government and the need for parents and staff to feel it’s a safe place. I wonder how many children will go. ‘My’ high school has been open all along for children of key workers, but only five children, of about 850, attend. Of course, if primary teachers have to go to work, their children will have to go to school. Then more secondary teachers will and then their children will be back at school. I wonder if this has occurred to anyone in government at all, that it’s going to become increasingly difficult to manage these bubbles and that support to children at home by their teachers will reduce considerably.