Browse By

Lockdown 3.0: Are Dads going to pull their weight with home schooling this time round?

Just 11.8 percent of fathers took the lead on helping their children keep up to speed during the first lockdown

As mums and dads return to home schooling, will the burden fall more equally this time round?

It turned out that mothers were picking up almost all the home teaching burden during the first schools lockdown, with just 11.8 percent of fathers taking the lead on helping their children keep up to speed.

That was the shock finding from a survey of hundreds of parents of primary school-aged children carried out by leading education resources and lesson plan experts PlanBee.

PlanBee’s Oli Ryan, a former primary school teacher, said: ‘We know that not all families are willing or able to help their children with home learning, but we were amazed to find that there was such a huge gender disparity in terms of who was taking up the teaching mantle.’

He continued: ‘The vast majority of primary school workforce are women, but we still find it surprising that when it comes to home teaching Dads appear to be doing so little. If it’s a sign that teaching young children is considered to be “women’s work”, it’s pretty alarming.’

And parents – the vast majority, women – were allocating significant parts of their day to home schooling, with over a quarter (27.7 percent) spending more than four hours a day on it.

Now, many parents are reporting that because schools have had time to prepare their home schooling lessons, the quality is much improved. In March, an extremely limited number of subjects were being sent to pupils at home by their schools. Nearly all respondents said they had received work in maths (93.04 percent) and English (92.17 percent), with science in third place at just 38.26 percent.

Fitting in home schooling with other work and other commitments was the top challenge for parents, with over a third (35.29) per cent citing it. Keeping their children engaged with learning was second biggest bugbear, at 31.09 percent.

And just 10.92 percent said they were loving home-schooling their children!

Nearly 40 percent of the respondents were primary school teachers as well as parents. And home-schooling was having a big impact on parents’ perception of teaching, with nearly one-third (33.6 percent) saying it had altered their attitude.

Parents have now deluged schools inspectorate Ofsted with emails and Tweets praising teachers and school staff for their work during the pandemic citing how quickly schools had set up work on short notice following the last-minute lockdown.

One respondent to the PlanBee survey remarked: ‘Trying to get children engaged to learn is very hard! I know it’s a challenging time, but my Year 4 struggles to engage if he doesn’t like the subject and I can see how that would translate in the classroom! Hats off to all teachers!’

A teacher-parent said that home-schooling was quite different from work: ‘I am a teacher but it’s different when trying to teach your own!!’

And for teacher-parents, the challenges were particularly marked: ‘I now have to teach the children in my class remotely as well as home school my own child. I respect myself and my colleagues a lot more.’

Another said: ‘Although I work in nurseries and I’m qualified as a teaching assistant, I don’t think I realised just how much work (and patience) goes into teaching.’

Mr Ryan said: ‘It’s great that so many parents are showing their appreciation for teachers by writing to Ofsted. As to whether Dads will do their fair share of home schooling remains to be seen. I won’t hold my breath!’