The Scarborough parents 'distressed' and 'sobbing' over home schooling pressures

Some parents are being left “distressed” and “sobbing” by the huge pressures of home schooling and work, say Scarborough headteachers.

By Sarah Fitton
Thursday, 28th January 2021, 8:25 am
Updated Thursday, 28th January 2021, 8:28 am

They have shared their concerns about the stress Scarborough mums and dads are under as they struggle to educate their children and keep their jobs.

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that schools would not reopen until March 8 at the earliest.

“I feel for parents so strongly,” said Vicki Logan, Overdale School headteacher and Yorkshire Regional Secretary for school leaders union NHAT. “It’s a massive ask.

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Photo: Getty Images

“This time, more people are being expected to work. Who is supposed to look after their children?

“I’ve had parents sobbing to me and parents who are very distressed.”

Employers can furlough homeschooling parents but Mrs Logan says some fear losing their jobs the next time companies cut back of staff if they make that request.

There are childcare bubbles available this lockdown too, but Mrs Logan says parents have concerns about relying on elderly grandparents to take care of several children all day, five days a week.

Photo: Getty Images

Technology is also presenting a challenge, she said. Her school has had 64 children needing laptops but only 22 to hand out.

“I do have more designated powers this time and I’ve been able to help more families,” she said.

“I would urge parents to come and talk to us. We will help where we can.”

Chairperson of Scarborough Heads Forum and headteacher at Wheatcroft Community Primary School, Jenny Hartley, said most families are “knuckling down and getting on with it” but schools appreciate the tough demands parents are facing.

“It’s incredibly difficult for parents who are homeschooling and working at the same time,” she said.

She said some schools are seeing a significant rise in the number of families requesting places for their children in school this lockdown.

When schools shut to most in March, the national average number of children in school was just four per cent, said Miss Hartley.

This time, the number of pupils needing places at her school was 21 per cent at the beginning of this month, and that has risen to between 31 and 32 per cent over the last few weeks.

That means teachers are being expected to teach live remote lessons to children at home as well as educating an increasing number of children in school.

Mrs Logan said around a third of her pupils were still attending at her school.

Gladstone Road Primary School also reported a higher number of children in school than during the March lockdown, and Northstead Community Primary School, which according to Ofsted has 627 students, reported in its latest newsletter that it had 130 children in school every day.

It was urging parents to carefully consider whether their child needed to be in school.

One Scarborough News reader said on Facebook: “I wasn’t expecting kids to be back before Easter but the kids are so fed up, especially my eight-year-old.

“It might be the safest option but it will seriously impact on their mental health. They are missing social interaction so much.”

Another said: “It’s hard but I would rather struggle with homeschooling and them need extra time and education than to lose them or another loved one.”