parent-teacher relationship vital to home schooling
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

A research survey of primary school teachers in England has emphasized the importance of the relationship between parents and primary schools during lockdown school closures, with teachers providing a range of practical and emotional support alongside academic assistance to parents to try and negate perceived disadvantages in home circumstances.

With schools closed from March 2020 until the end of the academic year and again from January 2021, pupils were taught online. This put an expectation on parents to shoulder some of the responsibility in ensuring pupils were engaged in their learning and to try and minimize some of the disadvantages faced by pupils from lower income families who may not have had access to the same learning equipment or facilities as others. 

Academics from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) led a team of researchers who surveyed 271 primary school teachers from across the country during June and July 2000, and also carried out follow-up interviews with a smaller cohort in April this year to compare the second round of school closures from January 2021. 

Participants worked in schools with differing levels of pupil premiums, which is additional funding provided by the Government to schools based on the number of pupils in a school deemed to be at an economic or social disadvantage. Lower pupil premium schools had fewer children considered to be at a disadvantage, while higher pupil premium schools had more.

The vast majority (84%) of teachers felt some pupils had been disadvantaged by school closures due to their home circumstances. 

The researchers found that all teachers provided resources for parents to use at home, either created by themselves or using other sources. However, while pupils from schools with a lower pupil premium number were significantly better able to access all resources than those from schools with higher pupil premium numbers, middle income families struggled to find the time to engage with home schooling, with many working from home in white collar professions during the pandemic.

The study highlights the broad range of support that primary teachers gave to children and their parents during the pandemic, not only academically, but also practically and emotionally. Teachers kept in touch with parents more regularly, either through online calls or home visits, and as a result felt they gained a greater understanding of children’s home lives, which helped build trust.

Many gave examples of ways they supported families through other means, such as organizing collaborations with charities to provide breakfasts for children whose families were struggling to afford food, making up food hampers, and even providing loans. Some teachers provided specific sessions for parents to guide them through some of the teaching materials, or to boost their confidence.

Lead author Dr Sara Spear, Head of the School of Management at ARU, says that “the COVID-19 pandemic was a difficult and stressful time for many people, and for some families it caused, or exacerbated, socio-economic difficulties.”

“Our results showed that parental participation in schooling in middle income families was predominantly impeded by parents’ work responsibilities, with one or both parents likely to be working, and long hours and high-pressured jobs leaving little time for supporting children’s home learning. “

“This was exacerbated in the second closure period, with more parents working, and increased expectations for children’s learning. Only the richest families had access to resources, such as private tuition and intensive private schooling, that alleviated these pressures.”

“It was clear from our research that a closer relationship between teachers and parents meant a greater understanding of the difficulties faced by some parents, and as a result teachers went above and beyond to try and make sure no child was left behind. Teachers are hopeful that this stronger relationship will lead to better engagement in future, with things like parents’ evenings being held online to encourage better attendance.”

“In the event of future school closures, schools should consult with parents when determining any requirements for learning at home, to ensure that this is inclusive for the families in their community. Schools should pay particular attention to access to technology, and consider parents’ ability and capacity to participate in schooling.”

The research was published in the journal Educational Review. More information: Sara Spear et al, Fostering “parental participation in schooling”: primary school teachers’ insights from the COVID-19 school closures, Educational Review (2021). DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2021.2007054 Provided by Anglia Ruskin University Citation: Parent-teacher relationship vital to home schooling (2021, December 2) retrieved 2 December 2021 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.


Evolutionary and Heritable Axes Shape Our Brain

Summary: Researchers have deciphered two axes along which the human brain is organized. The axes are mainly determined by genetic factors. Source: Max Planck Institute The location of a country on the earth says a lot about its climate, its neighboring countries, and the resources that might be found there. ...

View more: Evolutionary and Heritable Axes Shape Our Brain

Inflammatory Gene Provides Clue to Obesity Risk

Summary: Mutations of the inflammatory RIPK1 gene have been identified in people with obesity. The variation caused an increased amount of the gene in fat tissue. This increased risk of obesity. Source: University of Queensland A gene that helps to control inflammation increases the risk of obesity and could be ...

View more: Inflammatory Gene Provides Clue to Obesity Risk

The Choroid Plexus: A Conduit for Prenatal Inflammation?

Summary: Mouse study reveals the choroid plexus can act as a conduit for inflammation that can arise from maternal inflammation, impacting fetal brain development. Source: Boston Children’s Hospital Floating in fluid deep in the brain are small, little understood fronds of tissue. Two new studies reveal that these miniature organs ...

View more: The Choroid Plexus: A Conduit for Prenatal Inflammation?

Time-Keeping Brain Protein Influences Memory

Summary: Pigment-dispersing factor, a signalling protein that helps the brain keep track of time, also helps to regulate memory formation. Source: SfN Upsetting the brain’s timekeeping can cause cognitive impairments, like when jetlag makes you feel foggy and forgetful. These impairments may stem from disrupting a protein that aligns the ...

View more: Time-Keeping Brain Protein Influences Memory

Early Trauma Influences Metabolism Across Generations

Summary: Early childhood trauma has an impact on glucose metabolism and blood composition, which are passed on to the next generation. Source: University of Zurich People who live through traumatic experiences in childhood often suffer long-lasting consequences that affect their mental and physical health. But moreover, their children and grand-children ...

View more: Early Trauma Influences Metabolism Across Generations

A Genetic Variant That Protects Against Alzheimer’s Promotes Immune Cell Functions

Summary: PLCG2-P522R, a genetic variant that protects against Alzheimer’s disease, enhances key functions of immune cells. Source: University of Eastern Finland A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland found that the PLCG2-P522R genetic variant, which protects against Alzheimer’s disease, enhances several key functions of immune ...

View more: A Genetic Variant That Protects Against Alzheimer’s Promotes Immune Cell Functions

Cerebral Palsy Also Has Genetic Underpinnings

Summary: Researchers have identified mutations in single genes that appear to be responsible for some cases of cerebral palsy which were not caused as a result of birth injury. Source: WUSTL The causes of cerebral palsy have long been debated and often are attributed to in utero infections, premature birth, ...

View more: Cerebral Palsy Also Has Genetic Underpinnings

Process for Regenerating Neurons in the Eye and Brain Identified

Summary: Researchers have identified a network of genes in Zebrafish that regulate the process of determining whether certain neurons will regenerate. Source: University of Notre Dame The death of neurons, whether in the brain or the eye, can result in a number of human neurodegenerative disorders, from blindness to Parkinson’s ...

View more: Process for Regenerating Neurons in the Eye and Brain Identified

Drug Guides Stem Cells to Desired Location, Improving Their Ability to Heal

Gene That Helps Us Know When It’s Time to Urinate Discovered

Women’s Expected Longevity Linked to Age at Birth of Last Child

How Genetic Variation Gives Rise to Differences in Mathematical Ability

How a Common Mutation Leads to ‘Night Owl’ Sleep Disorder

STAT3 Identified as Important Factor in Emotional Reactivity

Safeguard That Protects Blood’s ‘Fountain of Youth’ Discovered

Neuron-Based Gene Expression Study Reveals Insights on Fear and Its Regulation

Researchers Improve Neuronal Reprogramming by Manipulating Mitochondria

Singapore cbank issues guidelines to discourage crypto trading by public

Genetic Discovery Could Lead to Better Prediction of Suicide Risk Within Families

What Social Distancing Does to a Brain