The research, led by Professor Justin Dillon, aims to shed light on the impact of coronavirus lockdowns and changes to schooling over the last year on Exeter children, their parents and teachers in the EX1-4 postcodes
Exeter pupils need encouragement more than catch-up sessions, survey suggests
Exeter pupils need encouragement, reassurance and mental health support, not a focus on “catching-up” or “lost learning”, a survey of children, parents and teachers in the city suggests.
Most parents (86 per cent), teachers (71 per cent) and pupils (88 per cent) who took part in the study were against children re-doing the school year, while 90 per cent of teachers, 80 per cent of parents and 86 per cent of pupils said they do not want either a longer school day nor after-school tutoring.
The research, led by Professor Justin Dillon from the University of Exeter’s Graduate School of Education, aims to shed light on the impact of coronavirus lockdowns and changes to schooling over the last year on Exeter children, their parents and teachers in the EX1-4 postcodes. The anonymous survey was carried out earlier this Spring by parents, guardians and carers, young people up to the age of 18 and teachers.
The vast majority of parents (91 per cent) were pleased with schools and felt that their child’s needs were fully or partially met during school closures. Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of pupils felt supported by their school while learning at home.
Professor Dillon said: “Most appreciated by parents were the weekly phone calls and updates from schools as well as teachers making themselves available for explaining instructions on various apps and online messaging systems. Families who needed support using technology were grateful to receive laptops/tablets and some schools excelled by delivering food, equipment and work in person.”
A total of 62 per cent of teachers felt confident their pupils had learned well while at home, while three quarters of pupils felt they have learnt some or lots over the last year. Parents were split 50/50 on their concern for their children’s learning. Most worried more about the lack of socialisation and missed life time opportunities.
Most teachers (93 per cent), pupils (88 per cent) and parents (78 per cent) agreed that the summer holidays should be a time for freedom to play, have fun and catch up with friends without organised activities. A total of 86 per cent of pupils, 62 per cent of teachers and 67 per cent of parents said they not want educational boot camps over the summer holidays.
Around 60 per cent of parents and 79 per cent of teachers said extra drop-in sessions during the school day would be helpful.
Professor Dillon said: “The biggest issue for pupils over the last year was motivation, followed by missing friends, and then struggling to understand and complete school work. For teachers, their biggest issue was not being able to see facial expressions when teaching and their having to learn new IT skills so fast. For parents it was juggling work and childcare/home schooling.”
One parent said: “We have been extremely lucky that school has performed strongly during lockdown and now the children are back- for example, within guidelines they have a full programme up and running of sport and enrichment and are running small group support.”
One pupil said “I am just glad to be at school as I find it easier to concentrate at school than at home and I’m more motivated then”.
There have been some in each group who have found the last year extremely hard. One third of teachers ’really struggled’ or ‘did not cope at all well’ with changes to their work, whilst over a third of pupils felt changes to schooling had a ‘somewhat negative’ or ‘very negative’ effect on their lives. Working parents juggling multiple primary aged children or children with special needs have had an exceptionally challenging time.
The data will be analysed over the coming weeks for the full report due shortly. The survey was completed by 55 teachers, 356 parents and 298 pupils.
Date: 27 May 2021