• Hannah Charles

Lockdown learning according to parents

With millions of children across the UK now learning from home, school closures have presented a huge challenge to teachers, children and their parents. On 5th January 2021, the third national lockdown was introduced, whereby schools have had to close their doors to most pupils whilst parents, many of whom are juggling work and childcare, are having to take charge of lockdown learning (once again!). The transition to home learning is a challenge and a disruption for most children however the extent of the impact will depend on how learning is being implemented in each school and household.


School closures and juggling home classrooms with remote work is proving an experience for all; it has been reported from a study conducted by the Parent Ping survey app that more than a third of parents say primary schools are expecting them to do more work with their children than they did in the first lockdown. Keeping children engaged and learning is key and a lot of work has gone on to ensure children have the resources they require. However, engaging young children in so much online learning and independent work at home often requires hours of supervision from parents, many whom are simultaneously working full-time. The novelty of home schooling appears to have worn off since the last lockdown(s) and a sense of tiredness is coming through in a variety of different research studies whereby parents are often feeling stressed and anxious about their children’s mental health and ensuring work is completed. Furthermore, nearly half of parents say lessons are more structured, with set times for learning specific subjects or participating in live classes compared to previous lockdowns. Although this is a positive when focusing on student’s engagement and the education provided, it can sometimes be overwhelming for parents to guide their children through and keep them motivated, while parents are still expected to work and complete their daily tasks.


In the wake of lockdown and the majority of pupils moving to remote learning, tech companies especially have been urged to do more to support this transition to lockdown learning. Technology is essential to help keep households learning, working and entertained and as a result, many broadband firms have offered support to their customers to create access easier and to help school children keep up to date with their studies during this latest lockdown. Support in particular has been given to disadvantaged families who lack access to a reliable internet connection or devices on which children can study on. Companies such as BT are offering free access to learning resource sites and free data for particular customers to aid with learning and schooling throughout lockdown and to help enable all children to access their education during these difficult times. A report from the Sutton Trust states parents on lower incomes additionally are more likely to find this period of school closures more difficult than the first, compared to 15% of the most affluent parents. The impact of the latest round of school closures on the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils is likely to be significant showing interventions are key to be put in place with regard to dealing with lockdown learning throughout the country.

We can help companies and providers to learn more about what parents, teachers and children really need in these times. Our most recent tracker wave looked at young people’s lives, including how they’d previously tackled online learning during lockdowns. To find out more about this, and young people’s behaviours and attitudes on a wide variety of topics, contact Helen or Afra (helen@discoveryres.co.uk and afra@discoveryres.co.uk).