“Mum – can you help with this maths?” “Mum – do you know anything about Geography”. “Mum – I’m bored”.
That’s what I’ve heard from my son this year. His school provides excellent on-line classes but it’s hard for him to concentrate on video lessons all day. I’m lucky that I’m at home and able to help. Even though I have a background in education policy, I am not a teacher. Like every parent, I just try to do my best.
We’re lucky to be able to afford a computer devoted to studies. Not every child is so fortunate. Around 8000 children and young people across Cambs & Peterborough do not have a laptop or PC and 3000 don’t have internet access at home.
It makes me sad that so many children have missed out on classes. The realities of the digital divide have led to a growing attainment gap.
Local charities have stepped in to help. I’ve been pleased to do my own little bit, lobbying for funds to buy laptops for learning here in Ely.
Children need to be in school for their own good. Parents and carers need the break. Too many people – women especially – are trying to hold down their jobs and help with lessons.
This time I hope the Government gets the return to school right. But I worry. Should we have Nightingale classrooms? Do we need more testing? What’s happening about exams?
I hope we get answers soon. The Government has had enough time to plan. And I would love to hear a big “thank you” from the Education Secretary for the wonderful work of our teachers, parents and carers in getting our kids through this.
by Councillor Rebecca Denness