Research School Network: Supporting Parents with Remote Learning

Supporting Parents with Remote Learning

by Greenshaw Research School
on the

There is quite a lot of guidance available at the moment supporting teachers with the demands of remote learning, but less so for parents and carers. This reflects the lack of evidence in the area and the difficulties of establishing coherence in such a complex field with a huge number of variables.

Yet a lot of parents and carers really need some help with supporting their children’s home learning. They are the ones at home struggling to keep their children motivated and focused and helping them to make sense of the work that has been set, all whilst balancing their own work and family commitments, often with very limited resources.

To try and complement the work of pastoral teams and class teachers across the country, who are no doubt maintaining as much contact between home and school as possible, we have designed a short booklet offering guidance to parents on different ways to support their children at home. The booklet is aimed mainly at secondary school parents, though we are currently working on a version for primary school parents too.

None of the guidance is necessarily ground-breaking; a lot of it is simply common sense and widely known, particularly for those who work in schools and are used to supporting young people to learn. But this is the point: most parents and carers are not trained teachers and don’t always know what we sometimes take for granted. Furthermore, in these stressful times, the most obvious solutions can get lost amidst anxiety and confusion.

So that’s why we have put together this guidance booklet for parents and carers – to offer them some practical guidance, prompts and tools to help them support their children with their home learning. Included are references and links to wider EEF tools, such as the TRUST reading framework and the Planning the Day’ tool for supporting home learning routines.

There are four sections, each one addressing different aspects of home learning:

1. A Toolkit to support parents with home learning

This section aims to give some broad guidance about how to create and sustain the most effective conditions for home learning. Underneath each piece of advice are small actionable steps that parents can use with their children.

  • Establish and maintain clear routines for them
  • Build and sustain their motivation
  • Help them manage their wellbeing
  • Keep up their reading and writing
  • Support them with their work

2. How to support your child with reading, writing and mathematics learning

This section focuses more on some of the main challenges involved in supporting the remote learning of reading, writing and mathematics. Given that most parents and carers are not teachers themselves, the advice offered is intended to be clear and practical. For instance, just asking children about what they are reading is likely to help them stay engaged with it, whilst paying attention to how they talk about maths problems might affect how their children approach the subject.

3. Five common challenges and how to address them

This is section is designed to address some of the typical questions that parents raise in relation to their experiences of remote learning with their children. Many of us who are parents ourselves will recognise some of these tensions and know how hard it can be to always follow guidance we would give others, particularly at stressful moments.

4. Useful links and resources

The final section is a very brief outline of some useful links to other organisations providing guidance and support to parents with more specific needs, such as the parents of children with mental health needs or with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). There are also a couple of links to other social and cultural opportunities available at this time.

You can download the guidance booklet for parents and carers (available below).

Additional Resources

Accompanying the booklet are two additional resources that schools may find useful:

A video introducing the guidance booklet to parents -

Video to guidance booklet

A PPT with script in the notes for schools to use and adapt for their own context (available below).

At Greenshaw we recently ran a webinar with our year 8 families. It consisted of two sessions – the first was about general advice and guidance for supporting children with their home learning using the booklet, whilst the second was more specific about our remote curriculum offer.

We have received lots of positive feedback from parents grateful for the support on offer and for the opportunity to engage with the school about issues being experienced around home learning.

Feel free to use and adapt the resources as necessary.

Phil Stock

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