Trainee teachers who are soon to graduate are behind a scheme to support parents and families amid uncertainty about pupils returning to school.
More than 30 University of Cumbria final year Early Years, Primary and Secondary teacher training students are running a daily service for any parent or carer seeking help, advice or fresh ideas on how to make learning fun and meaningful for their children.
The Homeschooling Support scheme is completely free and can be found on social media.
Parents can be assured that the teacher training students are fully DBS checked and they are operating the scheme under the supervision of their tutors at the university’s Institute of Education.
Parents can drop them a message or comment on Facebook (@HomeschoolingSupportCumbriaUni). In return they receive one-to-one support, resources and tips.
Whether it is help with pupils in primary, secondary or perhaps with special educational needs, students are tailoring their bespoke support directly to those families in need.
Final year students are usually in schools on their placements at this time - instead they have come up with a way of ensuring they are positively impacting on their communities during this coronavirus pandemic.
Demonstrating their resilience, the scheme also illustrates how students are continuing to adapt to meet the future needs of children and families in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Ruth Harrison-Palmer, director of the Institute of Education at University of Cumbria, said: “Our student teachers join the profession because they have drive and commitment to make a positive difference to the lives of pupils, families and communities. We are really proud of the support they are providing to parents and carers and in return they are enhancing their skills in online learning for their own careers as future teachers.”
PGCE student Beth Johnson, from Leyland, Lancashire, said: “This is helping me to develop my knowledge across all subjects of the curriculum. I’ve been helping parents by devising activities they can do with their children, using things that they’ve got around the home like a chocolate bar which they can use to demonstrate fractions to a child.
“The scheme is also equipping me for when I go into a classroom because I’m adapting what I’ve learned to a new environment online. I’m also continuing to work on my own continued professional development whilst this situation continues. In particular, I’m specifically looking at Covid-19 and how things are going to be different in the future and the impact that may have on children’s mental health.”
The idea of the support scheme was developed following a suggestion from Sharon Sanderson, headteacher of Brunswick School in Penrith, who works closely with the university’s Institute of Education.
Sharon said: “I’ve been working in partnership with the university for over 10 years and have seen the huge benefits students have brought to the school. Their enthusiasm and passion for working with children brings energy and creativity into our curriculum.
“Experienced teachers love to share their ideas and help the students develop their thinking into practical and effective application.
“Having this resource for parents helps at a time when teachers are juggling their own home situations with planning online learning and providing education in schools for certain year groups. This service will be of great benefit.”