Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced schools will close for all children except those of key workers. Schools will still need to look after the children of key workers, such as NHS staff, supermarket workers and police officers, as well as vulnerable children, but every other child must now be homeschooled.
The Prime Minister also announced exams will not take place as usual in May and June.
Asked about the duration of school closures, Mr Johnson said he wants to keep it to an “absolute minimum”.
It is still unclear when schools will be reopened due to ongoing measures to minimise the impact of COVID-19.
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How do I keep my children focused?
Parents have found themselves not only having to juggle work and having the children at home but are also having to try and teach them too.
Experts advise sticking to your child’s usual routine as much as possible to reduce disruption.
Nicola Anderson – Head of Customer Support at the UK’s leading online tutoring service MyTutor, provides new, up-to-date tips to reassure parents at this difficult time and advises how they can structure their children’s days.
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She advises parents to create an environment which is conducive to learning.
She said: “The environment should be free from distractions and ideally near to an open window, to provide them with consistent levels of fresh air and natural light.
“Some children find it soothing and helpful to have quiet, instrumental music playing in the background to help them to focus, but this isn’t for everyone.”
Another tip is to keep to a regular timetable so it still feels like your child is taking part in the school day.
Ms Anderson said: “Children of all ages thrive on routine and boundaries; schools provide this in abundance and it will make most children feel secure and happy if they can follow a similar timetable for their home-schooling.”
Using technology to help with your child’s learning is also advised.
Many schools are offering online classes and resources to help and companies are reducing or waiving their fees during this time.
It is also important to keep physical exercise as a part of your routine.
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There are also initiatives such as PE with Joe and Dancing with Oti Mabuse.
Joe Wicks, otherwise known as The Body Coach, has been keeping kids healthy with daily 30 minute workouts for children on his Youtube channel.
On day one, more than 800,000 families signed in to take part.
Ms Anderson said: “It can be anything from running around in the garden, walking the dog, a game of football or dancing around your living room!
“Again, keep it varied to alleviate any chances of boredom.”
Exams watchdogs have been working together for some time to look at alternative arrangements to grade children who were due to sit exams this summer.
These may include:
- using predicted grades
- teacher assessments
- looking at coursework
- considering other evidence of candidate performance
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