Don't confuse provision of Education with provision of childcare

Education staff have stepped up to volunteer... VOLUNTEER to work in school hubs to provide CHILDCARE for the kids of essential key workers...and only for the times those key workers are in fact at work. This is an absolutely amazing response, and shows the commitment to help a national effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Other staff unable to volunteer are working at home to provide education and care to children and their families too. This is EDUCATION in a different format. We must be clear about our aims in returning children and staff to schools...if it is to provide EDUCATION, in the holistic sense - keeping children Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurtured, Achieving, Respected, Responsible - then nowhere in the consideration and planning, should we be basing decisions around a motivation to get the parents back to work asap. Parents whose work is essential in the national effort to fight covid, are already catered for. Other parents who wish to return to work as the lockdown is eased should be able to make arrangements with employers that factor in their responsibilities first and foremost as parents caring for their children...whose children may not be able to attend school 5 days a week 9-3 at present, it won't be business as usual for a long time. It's a shared responsibility between school and parents...the role of the education staff would be primarily be education and the parents have the primarily the child care role. I say this as a parent of 4 school age children and both me and my spouse work in public sector (one full time and one part time). I want to know that when my children return to school it's been well planned around their safety and needs AND those of the people working with them at school...not around the need to free us parents up as workers.

Why the contribution is important

Our children's emotional and mental health and well being is being severely tested. Let's make decisions with a clear focus on what is best for the children in the environments we're sending them to...not on how quickly we can resume a mass child care program for workers.

by gw09garciachristine on May 10, 2020 at 11:03AM

Current Rating

Average rating: 3.6
Based on: 9 votes


  • Posted by ataylor May 10, 2020 at 11:30

    Completely agree that continued absence from school is having a real impact on childrens' emotional and mental health. They need to return as quickly as possible
  • Posted by Lstewart May 10, 2020 at 11:44

    This applies only for schools. Preschool care for a 1 year old for example exists to cater for the working population. There is no legal obligation for them to be there as there is in schools. A 1 year old in a nursery isn't there to be educated they are there to be cared for while their parent/s works I refuse to believe that parents should have to quit their jobs because such nursery or childminder provision is unavailable. Nurseries are different establishments from schools. They do not cater for hundreds of children.
  • Posted by Lauri May 10, 2020 at 12:01

    Children should be the first to go back without asking parents to also re start work. Situation should be monitored for 3 weeks after re introduction of children and then go for next group. Its not just kids at school, there is a whole workforce who will also be restarting work so a lot can happen then. It should be well monitored with half class sizes and then re assessment of numbers in hospital, not at home, of new wave of sick, because that will be inevitable. Shielding and vulnerable should just be staying at home and social distancing as much as possible, especially after children re starting school. These vulnerable groups could be trained in SICPs and TBPs. This way they can keep as safe as possible too. I say this because grandparents are a massive group of unpaid child minders for thousands of parents across the country. Children need the schools, not only for learning but the social side of things, normality in a sense, their wee mental health.
  • Posted by AnnMac May 10, 2020 at 12:47

    Schools should reopen when it is safe to do so, considering not just the pupils but also the staff. There are a lot of considerations around social distancing, sharing of resources to name a couple to sort out before anything happens. It’s a huge undertaking, and a lot of planning has to be in place for this to happen. Teachers at the moment are providing excellent home learning experiences through the various authorities around the country, and it is up to the adults to help support their children to engage in this while the correct planning is put in place for schools to return. The school will never be replaced by online learning, but getting back to school cannot be done in a hurry. Schools are open to educate pupils in every way emotionally, mentally, academically, but unless one has a work force ‘happy’ that this will be done in a safe way, until a vaccine is found, it will not work. In short, and importantly, schools should not open until comprehensive "test trace and isolate" capacity is in place to prevent a spike in infection; until there is demonstrable evidence that the spread of infection is under control; and until there are agreed operational strategies in place to ensure that schools are safe working environments for both staff and pupils.
  • Posted by bstrata May 10, 2020 at 13:11

    We need a two pronged approach of gradually getting kids back into proper face to face education, all the while improving the capability (and accessibility) for those who continue to receive education remotely. There is a great deal of anxiety and conflicting priorities at the moment, but the current provision is not acceptable if we are looking at potentially 3 months before schools return.
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