How can you help your child catch up this summer?
Summer is fast approaching, and a big part of it will be the long school summer holidays. But, similar to 2020, it all feels a bit different this year.
Children have not been in school for the whole of the academic year, spending more time than usual at home. For many parents this raises two issues as school holidays approach.
Firstly, what to do with the children during school holidays, especially if a holiday is not an option. And secondly, is there anything that you can do over summer to help your children catch up with schooling they have missed because of the pandemic?
In this article we look at three different options that combine both the above. We will take a look at:
- Summer schools
- Private tuition
- Enrichment activities
Many secondary schools in the UK are expected to run summer schools at some stage of the summer holidays. The government is providing £200m funding towards this, and schools have been asked to sign up to the scheme by the end of April, and confirm their plans in June. Summer schools are expected to be targeted particularly at children moving up from Year 6 to to Year 7.
Summer schools are likely to run for a fortnight and include lessons, sports and other activities. The aim is to help children catch up not only with key aspects of education that they have missed due to the pandemic, but also with socialising and wellbeing.
It is hoped that summer schools will help children to regain confidence by participating in new experiences. Summer schools are likely to end with a celebration event, involving the families of the children involved.
More will be known about planned summer schools by June, so check with your child’s school to see what is happening, and whether it might be an option for you.
If your child struggles particularly in a school subject, the summer holidays may be a good opportunity to find ways of helping them to overcome that. Many parents have found private tuition to be really helpful. The problem is that it tends to be very expensive. But there are a couple of things that may help.
The National Tutoring Programme (NTP)
The NTP is a new government funded initiative aimed at supporting schools to recover from the educational impact of Covid-19. It is designed to reach the most disadvantaged pupils in England by providing tuition partners and academic mentors to schools.
If you feel that your child could benefit from the NTP it is worth speaking to your child’s school to see if they are planning to get support from the NTP and registering your interest. Even though the tuition may not happen until school returns in the autumn, it could motivate and encourage your child to know that help is on its way, and feel more confident about going back to school.
Family and friends
Another option to look at over summer is whether there is a trusted family member or friend who could help your child to progress in their difficult subject. For example, is there anyone you know who is back from Uni for the summer? Perhaps they could spend a bit of time helping your child in return for either a small payment or a favour from you, such as driving lessons or some kind of practical help.
Over and above any school or tuition activities, there is a lot that you can do at home to help your child’s general learning and build their confidence.
To help give you some ideas on this, the DfE has prepared an Activity Passport with a list of suggested enrichment activities for children under 11. It lists various activities for each school year from Reception to Year 6. These lists include activities such as trips to towns or cities, camping in the garden, museum visits, nature walks, finding out about a local charity, litter picking and many others.
But many other day to day family activities will also help your child to develop an inquisitive mind and increase their confidence. These include indoor activities – such as board games, reading, baking, cooking, singing, dancing, drawing, painting – sporting activities, or trips to places such as museums, zoos or art galleries. Everything contributes in some small way to your child’s wider education.
We hope that the above information helps you to find ways for your children to catch up with their education this summer and beyond, whilst still having fun.
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