Mums are picking up almost all the home teaching burden during schools lockdown, with just 11.8 percent of fathers taking the lead on helping their children keep up to speed.
That’s 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.“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.”
Parents – the vast majority, women – are allocating significant parts of their day to home schooling, with more than a quarter – 27.7 per cent – spending more than four hours a day on it.
It seems that a limited number of subjects are being sent to pupils at home by their schools.
Nearly all respondents said they had received work in maths – 93.04 per cent – and English – 92.17 per cent – with science in third place at 38.26 per cent.
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.Eleven per cent said they were loving home-schooling their children.
Nearly 40 per cent of the respondents are primary school teachers as well as parents.
Home-schooling is having a big impact on parents’ perception of teaching, with nearly one-third – 33.6 per cent – saying it had altered their attitude.
One respondent 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.”
“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.”
Another said: “I feel that people view schools as free childcare rather than a source of education.
“I don’t feel that teachers are seen as human – no PPE, personal protective equipment, , talk of child reaction to [Covid-19] virus rather than teachers’.”
Some felt that home-schooling was an ambition too far and that the emotional state of their children was more important.
“Some need to realise the situation that some are in with just trying to maintain mental well-being without the constant barrage from schools for replicated school days.”
Although there was wide respect for the work of classroom teachers, not all parents believed that schools’ management of home learning was up to scratch, and there were complaints that there had been scant thought about the practicalities of the school work to be done at home.
One parent said: “I’m actually pretty annoyed with the school – the work sent home is unrealistic, with no thought as to how this is supposed to work.
“We’ve been given the work with literally hours’ notice, so no prep time at all, and in spite of the fact we’re delivering it.
“Trying to explain two different topics to two children alternately is difficult at best – hence my giving up and abandoning the school work and doing our own thing so they were both working, at different levels obviously, on the same topic.”