We welcome the statement from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson that government plans to re-open primary schools to all pupils before the end of the 2019/20 academic year have been dropped. However, now is the time for the government to open the conversation about all pupils returning more widely to parents – the most important education stakeholder.
While schools remain closed to the majority of pupils, including most secondary school children, it is essential that parents are listened to on the additional resources they need to support their child’s home-learning. Digital poverty remains an issue for many families in England, and online learning opportunities must be made more readily available and universally accessible.
As the government moves towards re-opening schools to all pupils, perhaps from September, it is essential that clarity is offered to parents at every step of the way, and that parent voice is considered an essential part of decision-making.
CEO of Parentkind, John Jolly, says: "We welcome the increased clarity from government on the plan for schools reopening to more pupils. We know from earlier research that parents have major concerns about the safety of their child returning to school, and many will welcome this news. However, while the majority of pupils will continue home-learning, it is vital for the government to understand what additional resources parents need to support their child. As we are still at least a quarter of a year away from schools re-opening to all pupils, this vital time should be used to open up the conversation with parents. We call on government to listen to their needs and provide them with clarity and reassurances about how their child’s learning will change once they return to school. Greater transparency over how schools will reopen, and increasing accountability to parents by engaging with them to support them at this juncture, will ensure that the government prepares families in good time for the return to school. Additionally, it will enable parents to plan for home-learning in the meantime. Parentkind will continue to engage with parents throughout school closures, and present parent voice to policymakers so that they are not overlooked at this critical time."
For more on home-learning resources for parents, see our list of free resources to support learning.