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Blog 5: School provision for home learning during the Spring 2020 lockdown

What were schools providing to support families with home learning during the first lockdown?

During the Spring 2020 lockdown, schools across Leeds – like schools across the country – were providing children who were unable to attend school in person with resources and guidance intended to support them to continue and consolidate their learning whilst at home. Data from teachers in our case study schools indicate that there was considerable variability, across schools and also across the different curriculum areas we investigated, in the amount and type of resources provided, and in how guidance was communicated to children and their caregivers.

Some schools focused on consolidating previous learning, but most provided resources for consolidating and continuing the curriculum. Few focused solely on trying to provide resources which would promote continuation of learning, as it would have occurred within school.

More resources were provided for what are generally regarded as the traditional academic subjects, such as literacy and mathematics, than for other areas of the curriculum such as personal, social and emotional development (PSED), and language and communication. Schools provided, on average, a greater number of different resources for phonics, literacy and mathematics than for language and communication and PSED. Most schools told us they provided new home learning activities daily or a few times a week. Most were also in daily or weekly contact with each family, using phone calls and messaging through virtual learning environments. Video calls were not used during this first lockdown in any of our case study schools.

Seven out of ten schools were providing the same resources for children who were learning at home as those who – being classed as vulnerable or children of key workers – were in school. Provision of live or recorded lessons was very low, in all schools and across all curriculum areas. School-produced videos were produced most commonly for literacy – teachers reading stories, for example. Most schools also provided access to online reading books, or to a combination of online and hard-copy books. Schools were more likely to provide worksheets – printed or to print at home – for phonics, literacy and maths than for language and communication or PSED. Suggestions for games using items found in the home or the local environment were provided across the curriculum areas we asked about. Links to free online videos, activities and games were provided more often for phonics than for other curriculum areas.

Nine out of ten schools asked for work to be submitted, and all of these nine reported that they provided feedback on work that was submitted.

For more information about our findings from the first round of data collection, see our Interim reports.