Teacher and mum warns ‘summer school is a must’ to catch up on lost learning

PUBLISHED: 05:30 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 22:12 12 June 2020

Would you send your child to summer school to catch up on the work they have missed during the coronavirus lockdown? Picture: HAZEL GROVE PHOTOS

Would you send your child to summer school to catch up on the work they have missed during the coronavirus lockdown? Picture: HAZEL GROVE PHOTOS


The proposal of summer schools and Saturday classes to help children catch up on lost education has divided teachers and parents in Suffolk – with some arguing that “homeschooling is not learning”.

The Department for Education has been looking at summer schools as one potential way in which to help support pupils following the coronavirus lockdown, particularly disadvantaged children and those who struggled to learn at home.

MORE: Would you send your children to summer school?

It has suggested retired teachers and Ofsted inspectors could help staff them and has led to a huge debate about whether they are necessary here in Suffolk.

‘Homeschooling is not learning’

A teacher and a parent of a Year 10 student from Stowmarket has been campaigning for summer schools to be launched since the lockdown was introduced in March.

The teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I have been trying to tell people that recuperation of lost learning needs to take place. Summer school is a must and maybe even Saturday school in the next academic year with longer school days.

“I say that as a teacher and a parent to a year 10 student.”

“It is vital that children get the support they deserve and at present millions of lives are being ruined for the sake of a few thousand.”

She added that the hardest hit students will be those in Years 10, 11, 12, 13 and higher education.

“But younger students will also be affected,” she explained. “All the statistics show that with only 95% attendance grades lower and so far this year students have a maximum of about 60% attendance.

“Homeschooling is not learning it is mainly revision for most as teachers are aware that parents are limited in their ability to explain.”

She said she fully supported the concept of summer schools and would enrol her child if given the opportunity.

She also said she would volunteer to teach at a summer school, but said they would need to be run with the specific exam specification.

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She added: “I know that school is a safe place and it is time we respected the youths and believe in them, they know how to behave and even, if like me, they disapprove of the lockdown, they follow to avoid trouble.”

‘My children’s mental health has taken a plunge’

Kerry Davies said she would love to send her kids, aged seven and 11, to a summer school.

She explained: “We have done literally nothing this lockdown as it was causing too much stress to the kids and myself. So I am very aware of how much school they have missed.

“My daughter, aged seven, hasn’t been at school since February as she had to have a tumour removed, so she is climbing the walls. Their mental health has taken a huge plunge too.

“If they go back to school they will learn social skills again – so I’m all for it.”

How would this impact teachers?

Meanwhile, not everyone has been in favour of the proposal, saying that teachers need a break as well as the children, after taking on longer hours to help with the sudden closure of schools.

Sue Farthing said: “Most of the teachers I know haven’t had a break since this started, working through Easter and half term! Children have been doing school work. This hasn’t been one long holiday.”

Amy Broadhurst added: “The children have been cooped up. Learning is important, yes. But they need to be children too.”

A poll conducted by this newspaper showed that parents were divided 51%/49% over the prospect of sending their children to summer school.

MORE: Suffolk poll finds parents divided 51%/49% over summer schools idea

51% of 257 respondents would not send their child to a summer school, while 49% said they would.

A spokesman from the DfE would not confirm whether summer schools would be implemented, but admitted it was considering “what more is required”.

He said: “We will do whatever we can to make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of coronavirus.”

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