New data reveals a whopping 85 per cent of primary parents are spending at least a couple of hours a day supporting their child’s at-home education and, of the figure, 30 per cent are dedicating the “whole day” to schooling.
But almost one in three parents are so confused they will not send their child back to school when they re-open or they are unsure if they will.
The staggering results come as News Corp Australia pushes to get teachers back into classrooms.
We are also asking parents to nominate a ‘top teachers’ who have gone above and beyond for their students during these challenging times.
Together with teachers and parents, News Corp is calling on governments to be clear about the transition and detail what resources teachers will receive so they can run catch up education programs to see how much work students have missed.
As students start to head school this week in many states, Australian Parents Council president Jennifer Rickard said families needed guidance on how to make the transition as smooth as possible.
“We need to make sure teachers are given the space and opportunity so they can pick up the baton and carry on,” she said.
“I think we need to work as a team so we have the opportunity to have a handover, especially when considering student wellbeing. It is very important teachers know how much anxiety and stress kids have experienced during this time.
“It is not just about academic regression but also behaviour.”
Other items being asked for to ensure schools are safe for students and teachers include additional cleaners, adequate supply of soap and hand sanitiser, and a commitment to overhaul spring loaded toilet taps.
Additional requests include supporting teachers with free flu shots, on-site teacher COVID-19 testing in hot spots, a commitment to hire additional teachers to support the transition and access to IT support for vulnerable teachers still working from home.
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While many departments have committed to additional cleaning and supplies, schools across the country are reporting the current resourcing is not adequate and, in some cases, sanitiser is only allowed in staffrooms.
Opposition education spokesman Tanya Plibersek said the spring-loaded taps were not effective when asking students to wash their hands properly.
“Upgrading school toilet blocks is a terrific way to help make sure our kids are safe, and to keep local plumbers in work,” she said.
“The Government has admitted that remote schooling has seen kids fall behind, so they must tell parents what the plan is to help students catch up”.
Correna Haythorpe from the Australian Education Union said governments must ensure schools are supported to provide safe working and learning environments.
“Resources such as additional school cleaning, sufficient supplies of soap and sanitisers, and access to additional IT support would make a big difference to teachers and support staff,” she said.
Cluey Learning Chief Learning Officer Dr Selina Samuels said it was important to understand the impact of so many children learning at home.
“Parents are clearly developing new insight into what their children are doing at school and how their children learn, and an unexpected positive of this situation may well be a greater partnership between parents and teachers,” she said.
Both teachers and parents need better insight into how schools will be able to provide a safe and secure learning space for all students, President of the Australian Primary Principals Association Malcolm Elliott said.
“We now have got the big risk in Australia of not being able to address the needs of those children most significantly disadvantaged when every child probably has experienced some level of disadvantage.”
Senior students will also have complex needs to address, according to President of the Australian Secondary Principals Association Andrew Pierpoint, emphasising the wellbeing of students will need to be monitored carefully.
“If that’s not done, then any teaching of work becomes a little bit of a moot point, we need to know where you’re at with each kid in the classroom.”