Heading into Term 1, we spoke to parents across Australia about how they are feeling in the lead up to the new school year. After two years of home-learning and lockdowns, most parents are feeling concerned and even anxious about sending their kids back to the classroom, but they remain hopeful.
One parent from the survey said, “My hope for my child is to be able to get back to some sense of normalcy and for there to not be interrupted learning periods whenever Covid cases present at school. Having to isolate when classed as a close contact even though testing came back negative was the most disruptive part of the past two years.”
The majority of parents feel the same, with our research revealing that parents’ top three ambitions for the 2022 school year were:
- A stable, non-disruptive school year.
- For their children to spend time with friends at school and socialise
- For their children to get back on track with schoolwork
Many parents aren’t happy with the prospect of remote learning returning. Seventy-two per cent felt the biggest issue with remote learning last year was their child missing their friends at school.
Jen.W, from ACT said, “My main ambition for my children’s 2022 school year is for them to re-engage with their peers and rebuild the social connections that are so valuable for their development. The academic learnings will come with time, but so much of their mental wellbeing is grounded in their integration and acceptance by people beyond those they were in lockdown with.”
Sarah H from NSW agreed, saying her main ambition for her children is, “to be able to make friends and learn to re-socialise. Having and making friends is a big part of the school years.”
Dr Selina Samuels, Chief Learning Officer at Cluey, stresses the importance of school for more than just academics. “As all teachers know, school is so much more than just academic work, and it is important for children to get back to their peer group and build their social skills,” she said. “If there is one thing that COVID has taught us, it is the complexity and multi-faceted nature of a good education,” Dr Samuels added.
There was also a lot of talk about personalisation when it comes to schooling. Seventy-two per cent of parents are concerned their child won’t get the individual attention they need to succeed this year. Eighty-eight per cent of parents agree that children should be looked at as individuals rather than as one group, while 96 per cent acknowledge that children need more individual learning plans.
Dr Samuels noted that one of the benefits of school lockdowns was that they gave parents a unique insight into their children’s learning and helped them to understand just how individual each of them are. “For many students, learning from home was actually a great experience and an opportunity for them to get the personalised help they need,” she said.
“School provides a particular kind of rich collective educational experience, but there is room for a hybrid approach that supports each individual child rather than always seeing children as a group. At Cluey, we see ourselves playing an important role in this hybrid approach to learning,”
Additional findings from the research include;
- 69 per cent think that some things that children are being taught in school are non-essential.
- 83 per cent believe that not all teachers are prepared to deal with children’s special learning needs such as ASD or ADHD.
- Over half of parents find the school curriculum at a faster pace than expected.
- Over a third of parents surveyed would consider homeschooling their child in the future.