United Kingdom

Mother-of-three fears her children will never catch up on the schooling they've lost

With a full-time job to hold down, and three children trying to learn from home each day, Jennifer Gray worries that her children may never catch up on the schooling they have lost.

She fears for the mental health of her two eldest children, Isabella, 16, and Calum, 15, who sit in front of laptops all day, watching their teachers giving live video lessons.

But her daughter Delilah, seven, is not receiving any live learning, which means that the exhausted mother-of-three has to sit with her and play the role of teacher.

She said: ‘We get a list of to-do tasks each day and are told it will take three hours but it never takes less than six. There are no interactive lessons. I’ve organised an interactive assembly with other parents, just so the kids can have some inter-action.’

Jennifer and her husband, Jonathan Bates, worry about the mental health impact the latest lockdown is having on their children.

STRESSED: Jennifer with daughters Isabella and Delilah and husband Jonathan

She said: ‘I want them to get back to school as soon as possible. I am so surprised by the reaction of people who just say “close the schools”, forgetting about the kids. That passion for education and its importance seems to have gone out the window during this pandemic. I can’t tell you how worried I am about their long-term future because of all this.

‘My children are privileged. They’ve got me at home, they’ve got laptops and space. But the kids that don’t have that... I worry about the future, I really do.’

Jennifer, 40, who works in training and events, said there was no way of her children’s secondary school teachers knowing whether they were actually paying attention in class.

The shattered mum blames the Government, not teachers, for putting the pressure on parents

She said: ‘Many of the children have their mikes and cameras off and it’s hard to get them to speak in live lessons.

'I’m not sure teachers can be entirely sure who is there.

‘I’m sure there are cases of kids just turning the lesson on and going off and doing their own thing.

‘The pressure that is being put on them to keep up with learning as usual is completely unrealistic. I put the blame on the Government, not the teachers.

‘Pressure on teachers is also intense and the expectation that children will simply learn as normal is completely unrealistic.’

Jennifer, from Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, added: ‘Interaction has been missing entirely from the Government’s strategy.

‘The thing I want most actually is anything that would give them some interaction with others.

‘We can cope with the learning here just about – what I can’t be is a teenage boy for my 15-year-old.’ 

‘I’m not sure if teachers can be sure who’s there’

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