School provisions and their association with pupils’ home learning and parents’ stress
These results are based on analyses of survey responses of 3569 parents of school-aged children in the UK collected between 5th May and 31st July 2020. The focus of this report is on the association between the different types of educational provisions that schools provide and: a) the time pupils spent doing homework, b) how engaged and motivated pupils were, and c) how stressful and manageable parents found homeschooling.
For primary school pupils, being provided with a schedule to follow throughout the day was associated with pupils doing an average of 25 additional minutes a day on their schoolwork. Receiving feedback was associated with pupils doing an additional 19 minutes a day, being able to interact live with their teachers was associated with an additional 18 minutes a day, and being able to interact with peers online was associated an addition 14 minutes a day. Whereas interacting with teachers via live videos, having a schedule to follow, and receiving feedback were all associated with greater pupil engagement and motivation, interacting live with their peers and being able to submit homework were not.
Parents of primary school pupils tended to find homeschooling more stressful and less manageable when there was a greater amount of materials provided by schools. In contrast, more information from the school, provision of a schedule for their child to follow throughout the day, feedback on submitted homework, interactions with teachers via live videos and contact with school staff were all associated with less parent stress.
For secondary school pupils, being able to submit work was associated with spending an additional 50 minutes a day home learning. Being able to interact live with their teachers was associated with an additional 32 minutes a day, receiving feedback was associated with an additional 30 minutes a day and having schedule to follow was associated with an additional 29 minutes. Whereas receiving feedback, having a schedule to follow, and being able to interact live with a teacher were all associated with higher levels of pupil engagement and motivation, neither being able to interact online with peers nor being able to submit homework was. Parents of secondary school pupils were more likely to find homeschooling more stressful and less manageable if pupils could submit homework and if the school provided a large amount of materials. Conversely, they tended to find it less stressful and more manageable if the school provided feedback on their child’s work, a schedule to follow, and more information about homeschooling.
The results suggest that, to enhance pupils’ home learning, primary schools should prioritise providing a schedule for children to follow, feedback on their schoolwork, and online interactions with teachers. Peer interactions can help to increase the time pupils spend home learning, but not their engagement. To reduce parents’ stress, primary schools should limit the amount of materials they give parents, offer a schedule for pupils to follow, not require pupils to submit work, and contact parents to check on their welfare.
The results suggest that secondary schools can enhance pupils home learning by providing feedback on their pupils’ work, a schedule for them to follow, and offering online teacher interactions. To reduce parents’ stress, they should also limit the amount of materials they provide and aim to provide feedback on pupils’ work, a schedule to follow, and more information on homeschooling. There is a balance to be made between enhancing pupils’ home learning by allowing pupils to submit work and reducing parents’ stress by not offering this opportunity. Overall, it seems important for primary schools to offer broader pastoral support (such as peer interactions and contacting families), and for secondary schools to focus on educational support.
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