Leading education organisation highlights positive impact of farm visits on young people’s mental and physical wellbeing

LEAF Education is calling on primary and secondary school teachers to consider the benefits of farm visits when booking Covid-secure outdoor learning experiences. The leading education organisation, which provides experiential, curriculum-linked on-farm activities and resources for all Key Stages (EYFS – 5), has highlighted the positive impact farm visits can have on the mental and physical wellbeing of young people. Last year, 100% of teachers who ran LEAF Education farm visits said they would recommend them to another teacher, whilst a further 80% said they would rate LEAF Education’s work as ‘very good’ or ‘outstanding’.


Carl Edwards, Director of Education and Public Engagement at LEAF Education, explains: “Farm visits can be transformative experiences for many young people. Not only do they bring them closer to how their food is produced, raise their awareness of the role of farming in meeting climate change, but they also provide inspiring, educational and sensory-rich environments for learning outside the classroom. Studies[i] also show that regular, direct access to nature can also help increase self-esteem; improve concentration, learning, creativity, cognitive development, cooperation, flexibility and self-awareness and support healthier food choices. With restrictions slowly easing, there has never been a better time for young people to get out on a farm and build deeper connections with the outside world.”


All LEAF Education farm visits are led and delivered by qualified Regional Educational Consultants (RECs) and are tailored to suit the needs of each school and their students. 


LEAF Education also offers farm visit training, with teachers being offered educational handbooks that contain all the essential aspects of organising school farm visits: from what to include in a risk assessment, to linking visits to the curriculum. Information is also provided on the types of farms offering visits, as well as what teachers should look for on a pre-visit. An online workshop is also available for trainee teachers organising farm visits.


LEAF Education works across the education, farming and food sectors to inspire and engage teachers and young people about food production, farming and the environment. It manages a number of leading industry and educational initiatives, including Farmer Time (live, on-farm virtual education sessions), CEVAS for outdoor learning providers and Countryside Classroom (online information portal for teachers). LEAF Education also provides teachers with curriculum and exam specifications, as well as focused training, tools and resources to help them deliver high-quality learning experiences about food production, farming and the environment.


To book a farm visit, teachers should contact or, to find out more about the wider the LEAF Education offering, then visit


Main research paper from UCL here – can cite this one, as its UCL and Wildlife Trust. But plenty of others that link natural and benefits more widely

Mind (mental health charity) also talks about it its importance:



  • Courses are available in Yorkshire for individuals associated with community clubs, volunteers and others who wish to know more about mental health
  • Learners will have access to three nationally recognised courses


The UK’s largest online learning provider, The Skills Network, has joined forces with The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation to offer free mental health awareness courses in the region.


The Skills Network, who already has partnerships with the likes of NHS, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, The Castleford Tigers, and now the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, is offering the courses to raise awareness of mental health in both adults and children, providing the knowledge and resources to work or interact with individuals who may be struggling.


Individuals associated with community clubs, volunteers and others will have free access to three nationally recognised online mental health courses, which will focus on recognising poor mental health, as well as the signs of self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The fully funded courses will also look at managing and minimising self-harm risk, giving tips on how to support others dealing with grief after suicide.


Darren Clarke, Senior Account Manager at The Skills Network said: “The pandemic has affected everyone differently – some have lost family members, others have become unemployed or furloughed, while many are feeling extreme loneliness.


“If we can break the stigma by allowing communities to be more informed and aware about the topic, it will become easier to spot the signs and potentially be able to prevent individuals from suffering in silence. By providing access to these free courses, we hope to support local adults who wish to learn more about mental health and gain new certified qualifications, for free.”

Beth Cook, Health and Wellbeing Manager for The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation said: “We have been working with the Skills Network for several years now, promoting courses that align with our delivery at the YCF. Given the current national landscape, we thought there was more we could do to promote awareness of mental health and reduce the associated stigma and saw our partnership with TSN as an ideal way to achieve this.


We want to work with as many cricket clubs and community groups across Yorkshire to build a network of ambassadors who want to create a change in how we approach, talk about and help those living with mental health conditions.”


The virtual courses, available to individuals over the age of 19 and not in the education sector, last for eight to 12 weeks, allowing them to fit learning around their busy lives.


To browse the selection of courses available or to sign up, please visit

Back to school but not just with a new pencil case; this term students will need a mask, a flow test, hand sanitiser & schools will need to disinfect as they never have before

8th March 2021 a confirmed date that parents around the country can put in the diary.  Finally, our children can be reunited with friends and teachers in the school environment.   But school life will have a different feel and lack the spontaneity that our young are craving.  Not only will they have to respect social distancing and wear masks, but they will be living in a highly sanitised world where washing their hands several times a day is the norm and schools disinfecting classrooms after every lesson is standard. 

Government guidelines stipulate that schools should ‘maintain enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents.’  But at what cost to the health of our children and their teachers do we disinfect?  How can schools ensure that what they are using to keep their students and staff free from the virus does not pose other threats to their health? 

Covid-19 has forced us to look at infection control in a new way; and right now this focus is firmly on the school setting. There is mounting concern that many commonly used disinfectants may not be up to the job of dealing with a pandemic; contact time may be too long, efficacy questionable with often a moderate pathogen control and many include chemicals that could be harmful to our health and the environment, especially when used with the frequency required to prevent spread of the virus.

Enter MicroSafe®, a non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-harmful but highly efficient disinfectant distributed by Purazine in the UK.   The active ingredient of MicroSafe is HOCl, a weak acid that occurs naturally in the human immune system.   

MicroSafe is 99.9999% (Log 6) effective in killing viruses, bacteria and other pathogens within a contact time of 30 seconds and has a proven track record of combatting epidemics around the world (MERS, SARS, Ebola) as well SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in Australia and the Middle East. Purazine introduced MicroSafe to the UK in 2020 in direct response to the pandemic.

The result of twenty years’ research, the patented and internationally approved Microcyn® technology that makes MicroSafe so unique, uses an electrochemical process to produce Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) similar to the natural HOCl produced by the human immune system to fight infection.   This process results in a pH balanced disinfectant, that is free of harmful chemicals such as additives and alcohol.  MicroSafe can be ‘fogged’ as a fine mist to ensure that no surface is left un-sanitised.   Historically, HOCl disinfectant’s shelf life was very limited but uniquely, MicroSafe remains shelf-stable for a minimum of two years, needing no special storage, handling or disposal and is kind to the environment.

Dr Hugh Martin, recent former Head of Agricultural Science at RAU and consultant with HOCl Trust says:

“With this level of efficacy, contact time, shelf life and being non-corrosive, MicroSafe sets the gold standard in disinfectants making it ideal for use in school settings where it will be safe to be used all in areas such as classrooms, labs and dining halls as well as for general disinfection application.”

In preparation for pupils returning to Chippenham’s Abbeyfield School on the 8th March, Deputy Head, Mr Spencer Cutler has been in touch with Purazine to request a new portable, battery operated fogger and additional MicroSafe to help disinfect sports equipment which needs a fast turnaround time. He says:

“Keeping our school community safe is a priority during this challenging time and having the opportunity to use MicroSafe has been beneficial in doing this. Sanitising a school is an enormous task, the advantage of using MicoSafe is that large areas can be sanitised quickly and efficiently with no impact on the learning or safety of our students, staff or equipment. MicroSafe has given us an additional level of security that we didn’t have before; paramount especially in this phase of the pandemic.” 

Dr David Cox of Purazine who distributes MicroSafe in the UK says;

“It is clear that we are going to have to learn to co-exist with Covid-19 and other viruses in the future but it’s vital that our solution to the virus does not cause additional problems especially for our children in the school setting.  MicroSafe needs to be part of all schools’ mitigation measures to keep Covid at bay; it is a product that is free of harmful chemicals, efficient and easy to use, limiting further interruption in students’ education.  They have waited long enough to get back to school, now let’s make sure that they can stay there and continue with their education but safely.” 

For more please visit:

Children urged to thank teachers by drawing them

Teachers have endured their toughest ever year, facing increased workloads because of the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic. Children are now being encouraged to create a special drawing to be in with a chance of winning a thank you gift for their teacher and resources for their classroom.


School stationery pioneer Maped Helix wants children to draw their teacher and those pictured in the five winning entries will receive an Oxford Metallics Premium Writing Gift Set. The prize will also include a range of stationery suitable for the child’s class, such as colouring pens for younger winners and maths sets for older pupils, plus Maped Picnik water bottles.


The Thank Your Teacher portraits can be created from pencil, felt tips, crayons, chalk, glitter, paint or anything else the children would like to use! The deadline for entries is Sunday 21st March.


Maped Helix marketing manager Lianne Fletcher commented: “It’s been a very difficult year for everyone but particularly so for teachers, facing the challenges of looking after key workers’ children in class and overseeing home schooling at the same time. With schools reopening to all pupils, we feel it’s a good time for children to show their gratitude by creating a picture for their teacher which may even win them a prize. We’re looking forward to seeing lots of colourful and creative portraits and rewarding teachers for their dedication and enthusiasm.”


Parents of children entering the competition should post the portraits on Facebook @MapedHelix or Instagram @maped_helix with the hashtag #ThankYourTeacher to be in with a chance of winning one of the five prizes for their teacher and class.

Maped Helix is based in The Black Country where innovative stationery has been created since 1887, most notably the Oxford Maths Set which has been used by children since the 1930s. Many of the company’s world class stationery products are designed to inspire and stimulate children’s creativity, such as the Maped Creativ and Color’Peps ranges.


For more information about Maped Helix please visit, email or call 01384 286860.


Trust Academy Business Manager completes Level 7 Certificate in School Financial and Operational Leadership

At the White Rose Academies Trust we like to recognise the hard work and achievements of our
dedicated staff members. As well as through our ‘Employee of the Month’ Award, we also like to
highlight and share stories of staff successes.
A recent achievement worth celebrating comes from Samuel Bradley, Academy Business
Manager for both Leeds East Academy and Leeds West Academy, who has worked at the White
Rose Academies Trust for almost five years.
Sam has demonstrated his dedication to continuing professional development by recently
completing the Level 7 Certificate in School Financial and Operational Leadership.
Developed by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) and the Institute
of School Business Leaders (ISBL), this extensive blended-learning programme accounts for 200
CPD hours and covers topics such as education funding, accountability, and contract
This accredited qualification is recognised by the Department for Education in the Academies
Financial Handbook and ensures school business leaders can meet the highest professional
standards when overseeing school finances, governance, and risk management.
Commenting on his achievement, Samuel said:
“I’m incredibly pleased to have completed this programme and to be awarded with this
prestigious qualification. I have thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the modules and
look forward to applying my new knowledge in practice.
“While I have personally enjoyed the benefits of this training programme, it will also have a
fundamental and positive impact for our students by ensuring I keep my knowledge and skills up
to date and relevant. In addition, the operations of the academies, for which I am responsible, will
continue to improve as we strive to create an exceptional environment for teaching and
To further celebrate this achievement, we asked Samuel to provide us with greater insight into the
life of an Academy Business Manager:
What is it like to be an Academy Business Manager?
Today, the role of Academy Business Manager is more vital than ever as schools gain greater
responsibility and autonomy over managing their finances and resources.
There is evidence to suggest that school business managers can help senior leaders save almost a
third of their time, covering their own salary with savings. But an Academy Business Manager’s
contribution is about so much more than financial efficiency.
“While efficiency is obviously important,” says Samuel, “my role is also about supporting the
academies I work for to make strategic decisions across all operational areas, and therefore
enabling my colleagues to focus on industry-leading teaching and learning.
“For example, one of my regular responsibilities involves working with our Academy Principals on
strategically planning our finances and workforce through a process known as Integrated
Curriculum and Financial Planning (ICFP). This approach ensures that our schools can use their
resources efficiently to create the best curriculum possible for our students.”
Thanks to Samuel’s commitment to continuing professional development, he can draw from his
wide range of knowledge about developing and leading support services, which he can tailor to
the needs of each academy and help establish a strong culture of accountability.
“I strongly believe in the power of accountability and helping managers to be autonomous when
it comes to leading their departments. Since I joined the Trust, I have led on developing a robust
financial planning framework, which empowers others to participate in the planning process of
budget setting and ultimately gives academy leaders a greater sense of responsibility and
accountability when it comes to academy finance”.
As you learn more about his role as an Academy Business Manager, you will understand that Sam
is passionate about the development and improvement of systems, processes, and procedures:
“I like clarity and I think others appreciate this too. I dislike complex procedures or processes,
especially if they are unnecessary. If we can make an operating procedure clearer and more
accessible, it will have a greater impact throughout the academy.
“For example, I recently supported our Estates Managers to refresh their approach to monitoring
facilities requests and compliance work. The result is that these managers now have greater
control over tracking and quality assuring jobs through their teams, which means the process is
more user friendly and useful for all colleagues across the academies.
“Another example of an improved process is the launch of our professional standards and line
management framework across the operational provision, which clearly sets out expectations
and available support. The aim is to foster a culture of high expectations with high support,
ensuring our support services are integrated and strong, led by teams of skilled and
knowledgeable individuals that add real value. Everything we are doing is aligned with the vision
for operational excellence.”
What does the future hold for the ambitious Academy Business Manager?
“With my experience, training, and skillset I could confidently work within another sector or
corporate environment, but I would not feel like I was making the same positive impact that I do
in schools or feel the same level of reward and job satisfaction.
“However, despite my recent success in achieving the Level 7 Certificate in School Financial and
Operational Leadership, I am still focused on improving and developing further, I am currently a
full member of the Institute of School Business Leadership and I am keen to apply for the
organisation’s Fellowship Programme and build upon my skills and knowledge. I am confident that
this will further improve the operational and financial provision of our academies.”
If you’re interested in developing your skills, furthering your career and joining a culture of
excellence, then why not join the White Rose Academies Trust.
Our Trust is going through an exciting period of growth and transformation, having recently
welcomed our first primary school and formed a World Class partnership with High Performance
Look out for current and upcoming opportunities on our careers page

The world’s largest online professional development conference for English language educators returns for a third year

Monday 22 February, Oxford, UK – Oxford University Press (OUP) is preparing to host 23,000 English language teachers at its English Language Teaching Online Conference (ELTOC) later this week. This is more than twice as many as attended last year’s conference, with registrants to this year’s event coming from 166 countries including places as varied as Peru, Germany, Kazakhstan, and the Cook Islands.


The three-day event, which runs between 25 and 27 February, will provide practical tips and explore current trends in the industry through its suite of expert speakers from across the English language teaching world. Key topics to be covered in this year’s conference will include, among others:


  • Classroom motivation
  • Learner agency, and why it’s important
  • Alternative ways of teaching and learning: Online, blended, hybrid and socially distanced classrooms


Teachers will have the opportunity to engage with some of the most pressing topics in the industry today, and all attendees will receive free professional development resources and a certificate of attendance.


As educators worldwide continue to rely on digital materials to support remote learning, OUP recognized the appetite among teachers to seek professional development and connect with their peers online.


Peter Marshall, Managing Director of OUP’s English Language Teaching division said:As teachers across the globe seek to navigate an uncertain and fast-changing environment, we want to do all we can to help them adapt, develop, and support their students—especially when faced with a future where teaching is increasingly reliant on digital technologies.


Alongside the practical learning sessions, attendees will have the chance to connect, network, and engage in interactive opportunities with one another. ‘We know from previous ELTOC events that both teachers and remote educators have found comfort in the sense of community the event provides—something that is more important than ever this year,’ said Sarah Ultsch, Marketing Director of OUP’s English Language Teaching division, and founder of ELTOC. ‘As well as giving educators the opportunity to connect and obtain world-class professional development virtually, we can, in turn, improve the learning experience for thousands of people all over the world.’


Reflecting on ELTOC 2020, one attendee said: ‘it felt like I had forgotten what it was like to learn, share, communicate and everything was coming back again” while another said that the normality of attending the conference and networking with others in the field simply made them “feel like a teacher again, and that is priceless’.


ELTOC is free to attend and runs from 25 February to 27 February, 2021.


Find out more and sign up here.


Pearson launches major national consultation into the future of qualifications and assessment in the UK

  • For the second year running Covid-19 will fundamentally impact exams in the UK 
  • Pearson is launching a major national consultation looking at the wider issue of assessment and qualifications for 14-19 year olds, amid national debate on the future of GCSEs 
  • Leading UK and international education experts will help guide the multistage research project  


Pearson, the world’s learning company, has today launched a major new consultation seeking views on what an effective system of assessment and qualification looks like for young people between 14 and 19. 


The national consultation will engage learners, parents, educators, employers and parliamentarians to get their views on how the system of qualifications and assessment in England can best deliver for students between the ages of 14 and 19 and enable them to successfully meet the opportunities and challenges of the changing economy and world of work. 


The consultation will run from 15 Feb – 31 March and is the first step in an ongoing project that will draw on a panel of esteemed education experts and external research partners – culminating in a final report in Autumn 2021.  


Rod Bristow, President UK & Global Online Learning, Pearson said: 


“For the second year running, COVID-19 will force us all to adapt and rethink how we both educate and assess our young people. 


“While we work with the government, schools and colleges and other exam boards to make sure the system delivers for learners in 2021, we also have a responsibility to look further ahead and use this unique moment to consider all of the issues. 


“So far, public debate is focussing narrowly on whether GCSEs should be scrapped but we recognise that GCSEs are just one stage in the age 14 to 19 journey. Coherence across all stages of education is essential and Covid aside, we need to ensure what young people learn, how they learn it and how it is assessed, is fit for the 21st century.” 


The consultation will consider three fundamental areas: 


  • Conditions and Environment: exploring shifting requirements of the digital first generation and how wider economic, technological, and societal trends are impacting both the demands of, and requirements for, today’s learners. 
  • Purpose and Value: considering the role that education within the 14-19 phase should play in helping develop confident and well-rounded learners and supporting their life aspirations. 
  • Trust and Equity: exploring issues around fairness and coherence in the system to maintain public confidence in qualifications and assessment, and to ensure that the system delivers equitably for all learners and serves the diversity of the UK. 


The findings of the consultation will be published in an interim report in May and inform a second phase of qualitative research by an external research partner. To guide the project, and set the direction for the second phase research, Pearson has assembled a panel of educational experts representing assessment and qualifications, academia, former Education Secretaries and Ministers, and leading sector representative bodies (see notes for full list). 


“With our global reach, we know that consumer demands and behaviours do not stand still. For us to contribute towards solving the biggest challenges of our time – including climate change and social inequality – it’s clear that we have to fully enable the passion and purpose of our employees in order to succeed. Therefore, it’s clear to us that the education system must reflect today’s challenges and do everything to make sure that every learner is able to reach their potential.” Leena Nair, Chief Human Resources Office, Unilever 


“Recent years have emphasised the importance of STEM in an increasingly data and information driven global economy. What we cannot overlook however, is the critical importance of people skills, fostering a growth mindset and enabling a culture for success.  Are we doing enough to ensure our young people have the balance of these skills, the emotional intelligence and the entrepreneurial edge to succeed? Those are important questions for this vital project.” Jo Marke, Global Learning Delivery Leader, IBM1 


Teenagers’ only lifeline in lockdown comes via a mental health app

With mental health concerns for young people increasing and normal full-time schooling for every child unlikely to return for some time, some schools have turned to a new phone app in an effort to support their students’ wellbeing.  


The EduKit app, created by a social enterprise of the same name, enables students to send an alert to their school if they are feeling unhappy or unsafe at home so teachers can step in and help if needed.


The app also delivers targeted support to the student so if anxiety or online bullying is the problem, the student can be directed to a school-recommended counselling service or guides and video resources that will support them.


Emilie Darabasz, joint head of school and pastoral lead at Frances Bardsley Academy in Essex, who is using the app with their 1,476 students said: “The cumulative impact of this lockdown on young people can not be underestimated. They are not only dealing with their own issues but absorbing the emotions of their parents and carers too, many of whom are facing financial hardship and job losses.


“There is a sense of hopelessness in some children and with no end date in sight, they need support. The app means we can send help right into their hands at the point they need it. They can be directed to resources to help or they can message a teacher trained to deal with their concerns.”


The app has been developed by EduKit’s co-founder, Nathalie Richards, who was inspired by her own experience of being bullied at school: “I wanted no child to feel alone in dealing with a problem at home or school.


“The first lockdown made me very concerned for those who did not have someone they felt they could talk to. I had to make sure that would not be the case this time around and so we made sure the app was available for schools soon after this lockdown was announced. It’s important that teenagers know they can get help no matter what they are going through.”


The development of the EduKit app has been part funded by the Inclusive Recovery Fund from Comic Relief and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.


Kaligo, the AI digital handwriting app, shortlisted for two BETT Awards

The technology awards for education, The BETT Awards, finalists were announced on Friday, with Kaligo being shortlisted in two categories for their AI digital handwriting app, Early Years and Digital Apps.


The BETT Awards are usually hosted at the BETT Show in London on in January each year but delayed due to the pandemic and the winners will be announced in June. 


Faisal Hamid, Director at Kaligo explains: “It’s wonderful for the Kaligo team to be recognised as a global leader in technology for schools.  To reach the finals in two categories, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, just shows the hard work and dedication from our team this year.  For the many schools now using Kaligo, they are already seeing the benefits, witnessing the improvements in outcomes, as well as the joy Kaligo brings to the pupils, particularly through remote learning, it’s really helping.”


Kaligo combines years of neuroscientific research with the latest AI technology and is a new tool that will help teachers highlight handwriting difficulties in a few minutes.  Teachers choose their preferred handwriting scheme and either a pre-set lesson or set their own lesson for their pupils. 


This new development is set to revolutionise how younger children learn the fundamentals of handwriting.  Through Kaligo teachers can deliver the lesson, provide instant and individual interventions, as well as actively monitor the progress for every child in the class. All without adding to their workload.


Talking about Kaligo, the Kent ICT Champion of the Year, Matthew Tragheim said: “Kaligo provides instant feedback and children can hone their handwriting through their own choice – we can see progress as children have a passion for it.  The instant feedback given through Kaligo has a huge impact on handwriting improvement.  We’ve recently launched our impact trial which will help teachers see for the first time, concrete evidence of the positive impact of edTech in the classroom”


With Kaligo, pupils find handwriting more fun as the colourful and intuitive screens on tablets most pupils are already familiar with, making the task of handwriting more exciting.  Kaligo then stores the data so teachers can easily monitor progress and provides teachers with the deep dive knowledge they need through its constant classroom assessment.


Approved by the DfE Hungry Little Minds campaign, Kaligo has also been recognised by many awards organisations, including the GESS Education Awards.  Kaligo is a member of the National Handwriting Association and a member of the latest cohort of the UCL Educate programme.


If you would like you find out more about our free impact trial or Kaligo, please visit for more information.


The most Googled questions about home-schooling children, answered by an education expert

With the nation still in lockdown and schools set to open on March 8th, home-schooling is still a regular activity in many households. Home-schooling your child can be challenging for both parties. Your daily routines have been upturned since last March and the normal we once had, seems like a distant memory. Before schools closed in the pandemic, only 60,000 of the 11.5 million in the UK were being home schooled, so it has been a brand-new situation for many people.

It’s more than natural to feel anxious and worried, especially if you need to work from home and are struggling to find a balance. The main thing you can do is to stay calm; you will be no use to yourself or your child if you give yourself a hard time. To show you that you’re not alone, we have asked education expert at The Profs, Richard Evans to share the answers to the most googled questions about home-schooling children.


  1. How many hours a day should I spend on schooling?

There is no expectation for you to be working with your child from 9am-3pm straight! In a classroom setting, the teacher will have no choice but to split their time between 20-30 children, whereas at home they’re getting one on one attention. Productivity can be high in a focused 20 minutes in comparison to a busy classroom filled with other pupils and distractions. At home, the school day doesn’t have to be a strict 6-hour schedule, you will find that activities can be completed in a shorter amount of time.


  1. How do I structure the day?

The best way to start the school day is with some exercise! This will trigger feel-good hormones and boost endorphins for the day ahead. Even though they’re not travelling to school, it’s important to have them dressed and ready for the day by around 9am, this will make it easier to blend back into routine when school reopen. When it comes to planning your day, there is no such thing as right or wrong. It is more than likely that your child’s teacher will be conducting live lessons which will help you decide when to set your activities. It’s important to remember that every individual works differently, some children will concentrate better in short 20-minute sessions whilst others need a longer focus period.


By now, you should have detected what time of the day your child’s concentration span is thriving, plan priority lessons or activities when they are most alert. Younger children will need more supervision but if your child is older, you can set daily activities and let them choose the order. This will encourage them to work to their own timeframe with your support.


  1. How do I limit screen time?

Home-schooling does involve an increase in your child’s screen time. The usual classroom activity that would involve paper to pen activity may now be transferred to a virtual task. It is possible to monitor the amount of time that your child spends on electronics, but it won’t come without a pushback. YouTube videos are great for visual learning, but this can turn into an activity that is longer than intended.


As a family, collectively discuss when screen time needs to be reduced and implement a few days around live lessons to focus solely on off screen activities. Provide them with books and print outs to extend their learning experience offline.


  1. How do I help my child if they’re falling behind?

Your child might still be adjusting to learning without a classroom. Not physically engaging with their friends and teachers could result in learning setbacks. Not all children will learn and develop at the same rate, the term ‘falling behind’ accounts to your child’s own potential rate of progress and not the progress of others.  You should identify the area of the curriculum in which they’re struggling with, it could be the whole curriculum or a few areas. You should then see how fundamental it is to the rest of their work. If the skills are needed to succeed in the subject, for example basic fractions, you need to focus on removing this weakness as they progress in their year group. Once you have this knowledge, speak to your child’s teacher. Working together you can create a joint strategy which can carry on through live lessons and your one-on-one time. They can also point to you the direction of helpful activities and websites.


  1. Should I get a private tutor for my child?

Education is best handled by experienced experts. In many cases, it may become apparent that home-schooling is hindering your child’s educational development. The most common factors that we have seen are lack of teaching structure, lack of subject knowledge and, most commonly, the impossibility of managing a full-time job with full-time homeschooling! If you feel that home schooling is more challenging than it needs to be, it might be worth contacting a tutoring agency. We recommend those with designated education consultants who can pick up the phone and discuss with you whether a private tutor is right for your child.

A private tutor can add much-needed structure and a healthy dose of fresh energy to your child’s weekly studies. They will have the time to create personalised lesson plans that target your child’s specific, individual weakness and the experience to make the learning objectives stick. Modern online private tutoring may be more budget-friendly than you’d expect as the industry has seen dramatic innovations over the past years, with 41% of Londoners using private tuition before lockdown. Lastly, you do not need to invest in private tuition for all subjects. Many families just focus on one subject, such as Math’s or English, which is causing particularly high levels of stress.

  1. What if I don’t understand the subject or task they are doing?

Lockdown learning and the sudden thrust to become a teacher can leave you feeling overwhelmed. If the school and your child’s teacher have set daily work, it can feel like an obligation to get through everything and have extensive knowledge on each subject. The key thing to remember is you’re not teaching; you’re facilitating their learning. If you think back to when you were at school, the curriculum has changed dramatically. Home schooling is about a switch of environment.  If you don’t understand a subject or task, it’s ok to admit this to your child, in fact it might even make them feel at ease. As a parent, you set the example that you don’t need to know everything and there is always space to learn. This will be comforting to your child.


  1. How do I maintain discipline during lessons?

Turning a home environment, one that coordinates fun and leisure, into a place of discipline can be tricky. Children perceive home and parents differently to a classroom full of peers and teachers. You might still be struggling to set the tone for your home school, but the key ingredient is to stay calm. Losing your temper will not only disrupt the atmosphere but will also make your child less reactive to learn. Children tend to follow suit when they know what to expect. Same as in a classroom, a schedule will be a simple tool to accelerate education. If they can clearly see when a break or lunch period is incoming, it will motivate them to complete the prior task to enjoy it. This isn’t a strict schedule but something to base your days around.


  1. How do children get the socialisation they would normally get with their friends at school?

One of the most challenging aspects of home schooling is seeing your child miss their friends. Having time to spend with friends is essential for children’s development and well-being. In lockdown, virtual sessions have replaced physical contact and it’s important your child retains their friendship via video calls. Zoom sessions are great for reminding children their friends are in the same situation. You should also try to recreate your children’s favourite activity at home. Take time to switch off from parent mode and play with your kids. Make paintings, play games and ultimately let them take the lead. Interactive games such as scavenger hunts will allow your child to have fun and create a distinction between school and home.