Mixed views from parents on schools reopening tomorrow
- Credit: Sam Dale/Samera Wahid
While many parents are pleased and excited about their children finally returning to school tomorrow, others are apprehensive.
It has been a long few months for lots of parents, some of whom have found themselves juggling work and home-schooling or may have paused a job they enjoy by opting for furlough to manage home education.
Tomorrow marks the first day of schools reopening to all children as we reach the first date on the government's roadmap to easing coronavirus restrictions.
'I am glad, how long can you wait?'
Samera Wahid has been home-schooling her daughter Sara, age six, a pupil at Sebert Wood Community Primary School in Bury St Edmunds.
Samera, whose husband is a regional health care manager and also has a pre-school age son, said: "I am glad, how long can you wait?
"I feel things are getting better as the vaccine rollout is going good. I don’t think keep schools closed helps children’s mental health, social and education.
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"Kids have suffered enough by not seeing loved ones so let them be kids and enjoy schools and see friends.
"Sebert Wood have done a great job with Covid and bringing in new rules."
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'It's a difficult one'
Sam Dale, 47, from Bury St Edmunds, is mum to Adam, 13, and Emily, four, and said "thank goodness" she didn't have to juggle work with home school.
"I for one feel it's too early and after Easter might have been a better goal, to have longer to get a clearer picture of the numbers and trends after vaccinations and new strains.
"On the flipside, my teen was no longer engaging in remote learning as he was at the beginning so he really needs the classroom again for his learning and socialising.
"My pre-schooler went back last week as both of us needed it. Finding the cat covered in healing cream was the last straw. She needs the stimulation.
"It's a difficult one."
'We have decided to remove our children from school and home educate'
Parents and Carers Together (PACT), a support group for parents and carers of children and young people with mental health issues in Suffolk, has been extremely active in the weeks leading up to the school return for those who have been at home since the latest lockdown.
Bec Jasper, from PACT, said: "Whilst many are excited and pleased for their children to be heading back to 'normal' school learning and socialising with their friends, we also have a large number who are apprehensive of this transition period for various reasons.
"Some have thrived and discovered that doing their schooling at home actually fits their learning style much better, others have felt safer and more supported with difficulties they may experience in school (sensory issues, social or other anxiety issues, lack of movement breaks are a few examples).
"Some of our families have children who have been attending during this lockdown and they have loved the smaller, quieter classes and more 1:1 teaching time and they may also be feeling anxious about a return to full class sizes.
"Of course, many will be also be anxious around health issues, a child catching Covid or bringing it into the family home, being able to cope with the testing regimes, what if they can't cope wearing face masks, and further periods of self-isolation if necessary.
"Some families have discovered their child has needs they weren't aware of until now (such as dyslexia or processing issues) and they worry about seeking appropriate support once the child is back in school.
"It's important to remember that there is no one size fits all solution and every family is using their own frames of reference and personal experiences."
Here are some comments from some PACT parents:
- "We have decided to remove our children from the school and home educate. We know it won't be as restricted as it has been through lockdown and there are so many local groups to help us in our journey."
- "I feel much more confident about the return this time due to the lateral testing and vaccine."
- "I think that for the wellbeing of my children they need some social interaction. I'm not sure that so many children in a small space is the best idea but there is nothing in between and we actually don't have a choice."
- "I think it's a real shame we can't be thinking more outside the box and look at blended learning or flexi-schooling as options, many children would find a combination would benefit them and support their well-being much more."
PACT continues to provide support for any parent or carer concerned about the mental health of their child or young person. There is no referral needed.
The group has a number of free workshops coming up, including tomorrow, March 8, with clinical psychologist Dr Beth Mosley. The session from 1-2pm is on 'how to support your child or young person's return to school'.
Contact PACT through the website for information.