Parent power: teachers worry they will face more pressure from parents after lockdown home-schooling
A new report suggests teachers are worried that they will face more pressure from parents who now want greater input into their children’s education after their lockdown home-schooling experience.
Research1 from specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has found that 69% of teachers believe they are going to face more pressure from parents for greater personalisation thanks to learning at home. Some 61% expect to see an increase in home-schooling and 68% are expecting a demand for other forms of alternative education.
Alternative education was already on the rise before the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA), local authorities reported 60,544 children as being home educated on 29 March 2019, compared with 52,770 on the same date in 2018. New research from Oxford Home Schooling has found that more than a third (36%) of millennial parents (25-34 year olds) are now considering homeschooling as a permanent option for their children, in part due to positive experiences during lockdown.
Ecclesiastical’s 2020 Education Barometer uncovered some concerns about the rise in alternative education, not least in the ways in which teachers feel it leads to a rise in higher expectations – without the necessary support and funding needed. The report found that parents’ principal reasons for alternative education were the desire for a greater involvement in their children’s education, looking for a more personalised approach, dissatisfaction with mainstream education, a need for greater flexibility and concern over class sizes.
Now, the main concern is, unsurprisingly, COVID-19 and the associated risks.
While more than a third of teachers (36%) actively want parents to be extremely involved in their children’s education, the majority are worried about this increased pressure. Some 45% expect to see changes in alternative education provision as a result of COVID-19.
What will this mean for teachers?
In the earlier Ecclesiastical research, a quarter (25%) of respondents believed this increase is a positive one, saying that schools will adapt to a greater choice for children. However, 22% considered it a negative, with some believing that alternative education, “leads to an extraordinary and unnecessary rise in the expectations of students in the mainstream schools”.
Parental expectation was still a key concern for the earlier respondents, along with the worry that alternative education doesn’t give the opportunity for students to grow or results in a lack of motivation.
Faith Kitchen, Ecclesiastical’s education director, says: “Perhaps with an inevitable rise in flexible working across all sectors thanks to COVID-19, there is a chance that more parents will opt for flexi-schooling around their working schedule as an alternative to the mainstream. Our latest research has found 69% of teachers believe they are going to face more pressure from parents for greater personalisation as a result of mass home-schooling during the coronavirus lockdown. The majority of teachers we surveyed also expect to see an increase in home-schooling and a greater demand for other forms of alternative education.”