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Free resources to support learning

home schooling

With school closures now confirmed and many weeks at home with the kids ahead of us, we know these will be challenging times.

Schools are working incredibly hard to keep children safe and families informed, as they prepare to support remote learning and arrange provision for the children of keyworkers as well as vulnerable children.

If your child is at secondary school, they may be asked to follow their usual timetable from home. This won’t always be possible for families sharing a computer or tablet, so discuss what access they’ll need, and make a plan that will work for your family. If you don’t have internet access at home, speak to the school and see how they can help you.

For families with younger children, where there isn’t a timetable to follow, it’s still a good idea to have a plan and structure your day.

There are lots of fantastic learning resources available online that will help you support your children with their continued learning (including some that are normally paid for, currently being made available free of charge). Here are some that we like, please do let us know about any others you use and we’ll add them to the list.

Pre-school and Primary

CBeebies including Radio
Games, puzzles and radio
https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies

PhonicsPlay
Lots of information for parents about phonics including: what exactly phonics is, how it is taught in UK schools and suggestions for helping pre-schoolers prepare for learning phonics. The subscription service is currently free.
https://new.phonicsplay.co.uk/

Boromi
While schools are closed, parents can sign up for free #dailyplay emails and receive a home based play activity each morning, using just bits and bobs from around the house.
http://eepurl.com/gWfuJz

Oxford Owl for Home
Lots of free resources and games for Primary aged children.
https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home

Book of Beasties
You can now download phase one of Book of Beasties FREE Home Learning Kit for teachers and parents stuck at home! Developed by fully qualified UK teachers, this pack covers a range of curriculum-based lessons including mental wellness based PSHE, English Literacy, Mathematics, Practical Science, Art and Physical Education. Sign up for free and download everything you need.
https://www.bookofbeasties.com/for-parents

BBC Primary live lessons
The BBC has put together a fantastic selection of programmes and videos to support your children, covering everything from literacy to fitness.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/live-lessons/primary-live-lessons/zmc9jhv

The School Run
Information and worksheets and an email with daily tips. Free 14 day trial available.
https://www.theschoolrun.com/ 

P J Masks
PJ Masks have upload extra activity sheets and their apps are now free to access including Hero Academy which is a coding app for pre-schoolers.
https://www.pjmasks.co.uk/activities/
https://www.pjmasks.co.uk/apps/

DK Find Out
Fun activities, quizzes and interactive information across many different topics.
https://www.dkfindout.com/uk 

National Geographic Kids
Fun free downloadable activities and online games and quizzes for kids.
https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/ 

Learning Resources
Learning Resources specialise in high-quality educational toys for children. Their educational team of experts have been working tirelessly to create these fun and engaging activity sheets for kids to keep them entertained and informed during lockdown.
https://www.learningresources.co.uk/free-activity-sheets-for-kids

Secondary

Oak National Academy
This is a brand-new enterprise created by 40 teachers from some of the leading schools across England and backed by government grant funding. It will provide 180 video lessons each week, created by teachers, across a broad range of subjects from maths to art to languages, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10.
https://www.thenational.academy/

The Day
A free, daily newsletter for parents and guardians at home with children, helping to enrich learning with real-life knowledge and skills.
https://theday.co.uk/subscriptions/the-day-home

Unique Voice
Unique Voice are a Bristol not for profit organisation who use creativity to empower and inspire children and young people. Their accessible resources help to support families, teachers and children.

https://uniquevoice.org/resource-hub/

BBC Bitesize
Online resources sorted by Key Stage specific to each nation, with free videos, step-by-step guides, activities and quizzes by level and subject for children and parents.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize

Seneca
Free online resources for students at all levels, with some emphasis on GCSEs and A Levels, with opportunity to pay to access more.
https://www.senecalearning.com/parents

Parentkind Parents’ Hub
Information to help parents support learning at home with tips for reading with children, games that support maths, supporting homework and more.
https://www.parentkind.org.uk/For-Parents/Parent-Hub/Supporting-Learning

Ted Ed
Take a look at a wide selection of educational videos on lots of topics.
https://ed.ted.com/

Economist Foundation
Sign up for a free weekly bulletin and receive critical thinking resources perfect for children to enjoy alone, with siblings or with parents.
https://economistfoundation.org/resources/

Computer Programming

Blockly
Free and fun games as an introduction to programming.
https://blockly.games

Scratch Scratch  
A great creative free programming programme.
https://scratch.mit.edu/parents/

Maths

Ark Curriculum Plus – Maths Mastery
A selection of free resources and guidance that can be used at home to provide daily sessions for learners from Years 7,8 and 9.
https://www.arkcurriculumplus.org.uk/home-learning/ks3-resources

National Numeracy
Free activities to help families keep up with their maths together during school closures.
https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/news/free-family-maths-activities-children-aged-4-11-0

Maths on Toast 
Lots of free resources and activities for parents and carers to support their children’s maths learning. 
https://www.mathsontoast.org.uk/fun-maths-at-home/

The Maths Factor (Carol Vorderman)
Let Carol teach your child maths during this difficult period! The Maths Factor is FREE for everyone for the duration of the UK Schools closure period. Age 4-12 years. Matched to the National Curriculum.
https://www.themathsfactor.com/

Science, Technology, Maths and Engineering (STEM)

RAF Youth Stem
Using their network of over 500 RAF STEM Ambassadors they are committed to informing, inspiring and enabling young people to study STEM subjects and understand the breadth of opportunities available to them in STEM related careers. Our aspiration is to assist in the delivery of a future talent pool with the right skills and motivation that is reflective of the society we serve.
https://rafyouthstem.org.uk/

Literacy and English

Ark Curriculum Plus – English Mastery
A selection of free resources and guidance that can be used at home to provide daily sessions for learners from Years 7,8 and 9.
https://www.arkcurriculumplus.org.uk/home-learning/ks3-resources/

National Literacy Trust
NLT has created a web portal with ideas and guidance for simple activities that will engage your children at home, while also benefiting their reading, writing and language development. You'll be able to access free reading and writing resources, audiobooks, videos, competitions and reading challenges.
https://literacytrust.org.uk/family-zone/

Pobble365
A picture a day to inspire your children to write creatively.
http://www.pobble365.com/

PhonicsPlay
PhonicsPlay comics are decodable comics featuring their characters along with some new friends. They aim to provide opportunities for children to rehearse the precise knowledge and skills that they learn in school each week.
http://phonicsplaycomics.co.uk/

Staying active

P.E. with Joe
The Body Coach, Joe Wicks will be holding LIVE PE lessons at 9am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on his YouTube channel for children of all ages. For 30 minutes a day Joe aims to inspire and energise the kids to get active, bounce around and have fun.
https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1

Oti Mabuse 'Dance Warriors'
Kids can dance along with Strictly Come Dancing /The Greatest Dancers' Oti on You Tube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btxws8qvYAA

Some fun ways to stay active indoors.
https://mommypoppins.com/newyorkcitykids/25-exercise-games-indoor-activities-for-kids 

Art and creativity

Simple sketch with Jo Ryan
Jo says "I'm a mam, a children’s book designer and member of the PTA at my daughter’s school. I have recently started a YouTube channel for kids to use during the lockdown. My aim is to get kids drawing and have fun, by teaching how to draw simple, colourful animals."
Simple sketch on YouTube

Draw with Rob
Rob Biddulph posts draw-along videos that parents can watch with their kids and, hopefully, make some nice pictures.
www.robbiddulph.com/draw-with-rob

Housebound with Kids
Their 70,000+ community has evolved into a resource for craft and activity ideas, community and togetherness for families all around the world. It's created by families – for families.

https://www.houseboundwithkids.com/

Red Ted Art
Fun and easy art and craft activities to keep kids busy.
https://www.redtedart.com/

Woodland Trust
Some fun activities, some of which can be done from your garden.
https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/categories/children-and-families/

Olaf Falafel
Fun and engaging art classes for all abilities.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsscZgxhEvgPp2caT3UNODA

News, audio books and other great stuff!

Storytelling online
While the Once Upon A Bus storytellers (a Parentkind approved PTA supplier) are unable to visit children in schools, they're recording a series of 'Stories in Isolation' including favourites like The Gruffalo.
https://www.onceuponabus.com/

Chatham Historic Dockyard - museum from home
You can explore the intriguing objects in their collection online and enjoy virtual visits via video and photographs, there are lots of activities to do at home including science from Doc.Yard!
https://thedockyard.co.uk/the-collections/museum-from-home/

Harry Potter at Home
Magical treats to keep children occupied - including special contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, nifty magical craft videos (teach your friends how to draw a Niffler!), fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world.
https://www.wizardingworld.com/collections/harry-potter-at-home

First News – weekly newspaper for 7 to 14-year-olds
Free access for a limited period of time, to help parents, children and schools during school closures.
https://subscribe.firstnews.co.uk/free-downloadable-issue/

David Walliams' Elevenses
Every day at eleven, David Walliams is releasing a new short story from his 'World's Worst Children' books online.
https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/

Blue Peter Badges
https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/joinin/about-blue-peter-badges  

Animals - live webcams
A list of zoos with live webcams
https://www.holidaypirates.com/travel-magazine/13-zoos-that-offer-live-streams-see-giraffes-koalas-pandas-tigers-penguins-more_35765

Northern Ireland

Ryan’s Gym, NI
A fabulous daily online PE session for children.
https://www.facebook.com/703508836340915/posts/3959724754052624/

Core NI
https://www.facebook.com/corenicorekids/

RISE, NI
Some general advice for parent in developing their child’s skills at home in relation to a number of development areas.
https://view.pagetiger.com/RISENI/parents

Twitter only resource - @learn_ni

CI-NI
Helpline and webchat for parents for everything including hunger poverty. They are really useful as they can signpost families for food support and today have announced they are also working with community partners to ensure no child goes hungry during this difficult period.
http://www.ci-ni.org.uk/parentline-ni

The Education Training Inspectorate
Learning resources for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
https://www.etini.gov.uk/news/special-schools-remote-learning

NI Direct
Give your child a helping hand is a huge resource giving parents lots of guidance on supporting their children’s learning right through from nursery to Y14.
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/helping-hand

The Autism Advisory and Intervention Service at the Education Authority
The service have set up a special page on their website with a number of resources available for parents to use. This includes advice and guidance on how to maintain and establish routines during this period of home learning, visuals and workstation ideas. It suggests activities and strategies that may help children who are finding it difficult to regulate their emotions during this period of uncertainty.
There are also a list of contact numbers for parents with children who are already known to the Autism Advisory and Intervention Service, for those who are in need of these.
https://www.eani.org.uk/services/pupil-support-services/autism-advisory-intervention-service-aais

P.E. sessions for children
Sports Development Officer with the Education Authority in NI is providing daily PE sessions for children. Adults can join in too😉
https://www.facebook.com/187268851420829/posts/1839629779518053/

Wales

Stay Safe. Stay Learning
Welsh Government continuity of learning policy statement - aims to support learners, leaders, governors, practitioners, parents and carers in dealing with the impact of coronavirus.
https://gov.wales/stay-safe-stay-learning

Hwb
Distance learning tools, support and resources.
https://hwb.gov.wales/distance-learning/support-for-parents-and-carers/

Cysgliad 
A software package to help Welsh language spellchecking and grammar checking has been released as a free download thanks to a partnership between Bangor University and the Welsh Government.
https://www.cysgliad.com/en/free-licence/

Head4Arts
A new free bilingual storytelling app designed to support literacy and enjoyment of reading is now available for English-speaking parents whose children attend Welsh-medium schools.
https://head4arts.org.uk

WJEC
These free digital resources support the teaching and learning of subjects offered by WJEC.
https://resources.wjec.co.uk/

‘Clwb Cylch’
Open Welsh Playgroup Session useful links/resources for parents. During the period of the Coronavirus pandemic, Mudiad Meithrin is contributing to Welsh language activity in the home by providing open sessions under the banner of 'Clwb Cylch' (#ClwbCylch) for children of nursery age and their parents via digital platforms.
https://bit.ly/3dItFZc

Twinkl Cymru
Resources for primary school teachers, parents can currently sign up for free access using the code – UKTWINKLHELPS
https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/adnoddau-cymraeg-welsh-resources

Sport Wales
Specialist resources aimed at improving children’s physical and sport skills are being made available for free for use during the Coronavirus lockdown.
https://www.sport.wales/

Welsh language TV programmes and resources
s4c have put together Welsh language programmes for younger children, and links to educational games, stories, etc.
http://www.s4c.cymru/en/cyw/grown-ups/#

Bilingual activities for 3 to 11 year olds
Working in partnership with the local council, schools, heads and teachers, Dysguarlein have delivered over 120 online bilingual activities for 3 to 11 year olds weekly into Pembrokeshire homes. Take a look at their free resources including daily Welsh/English activities that can be delivered on any device, including SMART TVs, old tablets and Games Consoles.
http://dysguarlein.com

Reviewed: January 2021

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