How is the new school year for your family?

08 October 2021
Kate Kemp
Kate Kemp is Head of Direct to Learner at learning company, Pearson. She is part of the team working on products and services to support parents and students at every stage of the learning journey. 
Support, socialising, variety, routine – now the academic year is once again in full swing, parents and pupils around the country have told us there are so many benefits to being back at school.

In a nationwide Pearson survey from April this year, 56% of teachers reported seeing pupil enjoyment of school improve following the last national lockdown, and since then, the positive sentiments have continued.

In a recent Back-to-School Snapshot Survey, we gathered views of parents and teachers on the cusp of the new school year, as they supported children getting ready for a return to the classroom. We asked what parents were most looking forward to, and heard a range of optimistic, morale-boosting answers, including:

  • The opportunity for my daughter to enjoy and continue learning.”
  • Being invited back into the school for community events.”
  • Seeing how my girl progresses and conquers her next challenges.”
  • My son taking more ownership of his learning.” 

The majority told us that children were enjoying school more now they were back in the physical classroom, and it was a joy to see a large majority express that excitement to us, championing the many benefits that schools bring.

In the past 18 months, our communities have shared so many challenges. Despite this, many relationships between educators and families have been strengthened by the joint support of children and young people through new ways of learning. In a range of schools and settings, some online parent-teacher interactions have extended long after lockdown, meaning more flexible communication, and the bonuses of continued, increased connection. In fact, shortly after the third lockdown, 34% of teachers predicted that technology would drive up parental engagement with their children’s learning in the years ahead;– with a powerful, positive impact on their education looking likely as a result.

The role parents, carers and teachers play in supporting children’s education is something that has taken on new meaning during the pandemic. This was evident in our survey with in-class support from teachers reported as something that children were looking forward to most. 

Teachers expressed their excitement too, sharing comments such as: I can’t wait to use all the teaching and learning resources in my classroom to build confidence and create a sense of pride in their learning.”

Another expressed their joy that their pupils could soon be able to socialise properly with other students.” A majority simply stated what is on many a mind right now – that they were most looking forward to… normality!”

The consistency, sanctuary, and knowledge that schools offer is such a gift; while passionate educators can be a beacon to those they teach during difficult times, so can families. None of us know what’s to come in the year ahead, and yet perhaps that is the one thing we can rely on: that, whether online or in classrooms, we will all continue learning, together.

Top tips for supporting kids throughout the back-to-school season:

  1. Sustain good communication levels with school staff
  2. Maintain an interest in what they are learning
  3. Be mindful that they may be nervous or wary of the physical classroom environment –Check out these tips to reduce managing children’s anxiety about returning
  4. Focus on the many positives ahead – including socialising with school friends, extra-curricular activities, and school trips
  5. Reach out for the right resources, including the range of support available in Pearson’s Wellbeing Zone

How are you and your family finding the back-to-school shift in 2021? Let us know.