What does lockdown mean for our primary school children?


Chris Pallet, chair of Redbridge Lib Dems and teacher in a local primary school, shares his experience of lockdown. 

Life has changed for everyone since lock-down started. As a teacher in a local primary school, that is certainly true for me.  Leaving the house every morning ready to greet my class at 9:00 AM has transformed into sitting down at my computer in my living room to upload lessons into an online Classroom. I spend the rest of the day giving my children feedback and offering what encouragement I can via the chat function.  My days aren't quite so hectic, but I really miss seeing the children. And I don’t like the thought that I can’t (physically at least) be there when my children need help.

So how has this switch to on-line learning impacted my children's education? On the plus side, the children that are able and motivated to engage with online learning are getting a crash course in I.T. that will serve them well in the future. Every day they are writing emails, creating and editing documents, developing their typing skills and more. 

As is always the case, those who are motivated to learn and well supported at home are doing okay.

On the negative side (and it is a huge negative), it is very hard to support those children who are not able to engage with online learning effectively. These are often the children who were already attaining below their potential. They are the ones that needed school the most in the first place, and they are the ones that are falling further behind now. 

And of course all the children are missing their friends.

The lesson I will take with me from all of this is that some children will thrive in almost any situation, because they have motivation and the supportive home environment to succeed. But for some, school makes all the difference, and I (we) always need to remember that.

For now, we need to do everything we can to support children who are still unable to return to school. That means keeping in regular contact by phone and making sure every child has a laptop at home with a good internet connection. Redbridge council should be proactively working with all local authority schools to make sure this happens.

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Chris Pallet, chair of Redbridge Lib Dems


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