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ANSWERS NOW ADDED: questions about your child's education in lockdown? Post them here for our advice clinic with StarLine

(30 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 05-May-20 13:18:01

Hello

We know loads of you have questions and concerns about your children's education at the moment, so we're pleased to announce an advice clinic with StarLine - the expert education and parenting helpline set up to help provide informed advice for parents during this weird and worrying time.

StarLine is a national home learning helpline giving parents and carers direct access to a team of qualified teachers, and education and parenting experts who can provide one-to-one advice, support and reassurance.

So if you've got a question about your child's learning that you'd like some expert help with, please post it up here. Topics the experts can address include all phases of school education and all subjects; ideas for tips, techniques and resources; support with family wellbeing and mental health; help for supporting children with SEND; how to approach structure and routines; ideas for making home-learning work for your situation and context; and ideas for coping with behavioural issues you may be dealing with.

(Please note StarLine is based in England and its advice will be based on the English curriculum and system.)

Once we've gathered up your questions we'll send them on to StarLine who will pass them on to the appropriate experts for answers, and we'll post up the answers (hopefully) next week.

if you'd prefer to contact them directly, you can call StarLine on 0330 313 9162 (calls are charged at your provider's local landline rate). Lines are open as follows:

Monday and Wednesday - 8am to 4pm and 7pm to 10pm
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday - 10am to 4pm
Sunday - 10am to 1pm

Thanks
MNHQ

TiffinVsHampton Thu 07-May-20 11:39:34

St Pauls girls.
My DD will be A levels at St Pauls Girls taking Maths + Further Maths. Is it possible to know what books are used at SPGS so some work can be done whilst in lockdown! I know they use Edexcel board but there are so many books and its easy to get confused. Any pointers pls? Thanks

absea Fri 08-May-20 10:16:56

How to get my reception age child to stop closing his eyes and putting his hands over his ears every time I try and do school work.

Mkh873w Fri 08-May-20 12:01:21

Two of my children can only access education when paired with specialist 1:1 support in class. Regardless of differentiated work, they are finding it impossible to do any homework at all. They have EHCPs and are fully funded but we are left totally adrift.

Why are they getting no help at all?

allotmentwarrior Fri 08-May-20 12:48:20

Hi, any top tips for homeschooling a resistant 7 year old. She's already behind in her maths and don't want her to fall further behind. She does everything she can to avoid doing the work and needs a lot of 1-1 support to get going. As I'm fitting this in with my day job, this is v.hard work!

Mountainash Fri 08-May-20 16:46:50

Our ten year old is doing AQE test papers. He is a bright child but, doesn’t read the questions properly or even see where he has inadvertently missed some questions. How can we resolve this?
His reading is very good and his eyesight is good.

AnneOfAvonlea Sat 09-May-20 13:04:08

My daughter has ASD. She is bright but has high anxiety. School is sending 6 pieces of work a day to fit with timetable and we are managing 2 or 3. Both us feel rubbish about this. Any tips to reframe it as a success rather than a failure?

Wannaflyaway Sat 09-May-20 21:55:22

How to stop my reception age daughter to not get so upset every time she makes a mistake and also how to get her to be more motivated.

Cheneylo Mon 11-May-20 07:07:43

Hi. As kids with an EHCP they are on the list of children who are still allowed to go to school, them and children of key workers, did their school not inform you of this? Both my sons have EHCP (ASD, ADHD and Asthma) and we were informed then reminded after the break. I chose not to but i get a phone call every week to check on us from both schools. My advice is email or call the school SENCO or Head asap and often ie, be "that" parent. Good luck, Stay safe and breathe don't worry, you've got this. 👍🏾

coughcoughcoughitty Tue 12-May-20 15:40:35

My kids are Year 10 and Year 12 (well done, past me). They’re both academic and were shooting for good grades in GCSEs and A Levels respectively next year. First world problem I know.

My older son’s school has been brilliant, with video teaching and set work and marking and one-to-ones - everything you could ask for. But my younger son has basically had no new material introduced since schools closed. He has effectively lost a term of GCSE teaching - about one fifth of the curriculum.

I think I’m after some reassurance. Do teachers feel they can realistically catch these children up? Are academies going to start making more use of video and online teaching? What’s going to to happen? Sorry, I know you don’t have a crystal ball but I’m desperate for reassurance that this year group isn’t just going to be told to suck it up come May 2021.

BellaPie Thu 14-May-20 01:11:24

Help with reading while homeschooling - can anyone recommend any videos / apps to help a slow/early reader to do on their own for 10-15 minutes, while parents try to do day job wfh? Something showing the words on screen at the same time as the narrator is reading them out loud, so the child can follow along? Maybe karaoke style with the words lighting up or a dot/ball bouncing onto the word as it is read?

Howmanysleepsnow Thu 14-May-20 23:45:36

Do I have to do the work set? Ds (6, 7 in summer) struggles with reading. He gets stressed trying to do worksheets school sent out because he can’t read the questions, but won’t do oak academy or bbc bitesize because he thinks the style is too “babyish”. I’m thinking that working on his reading is the way forward. Is it ok to take a step back and just do maths (which he manages well) and just read books/ signposts/ recipes etc or will he fall further behind?

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 13:16:21

Hello Howmanysleepsnow

Thank you for your question. This is a tricky time for parents as they try to navigate the role of parent/teacher.

First of all, I would recommend speaking to your school to see if there is anything they can do to help him access the learning they have provided. If he is becoming distressed from worksheets, the chances are that putting more in front of him may just make the situation worse. From his age, I can see he is in year 2 (and probably one of the youngest in his year group). You are right to think about the importance of reading. The chances are the school has provided a reading book which is matched to his reading ability, I would use this as a starting point. Some schools have also put some tips/advice for reading at home on their website, so that would be worth a look. Listen to him read and ask him questions about what happened in the book, for example ‘why do you think the wolf blew the houses down?’. Encourage him to re-read the book either until he is more fluent (maybe 3 or 4 times). Think about how we read now, we don’t rely on identifying single sounds within a word, we just know what these words say. Over time, these words will become ‘sight’ words to your son the more he sees them and sounds them out. The more fluent he reads, the higher the likelihood he will be able to answer some questions about the book.

As your child is in year 2, he will not be due to return on 1 June but don’t let this stop you ringing the school and asking for access to further reading books/resources within his development stage. Let the reading experiences be positive and try to present this as a relaxing, enjoyable time. I’m hesitant to suggest any websites or online resources to support your son with his reading as each school goes about teaching children to read in different ways, any wrong recommendation could lead to confusion by the time your son returns to school.

If your son is managing mathematics well, there is no harm in keeping this going alongside the reading.

I wish you all the best!

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 13:35:59

absea

How to get my reception age child to stop closing his eyes and putting his hands over his ears every time I try and do school work.

It can be very frustrating when you are trying to work with your child who seems to prefer to ‘switch-off’ or block you out. Here we look at some things you could try to help get that communication going … and going!

Take a deep breath. Remain calm. Remember, the more you react, the more it turns into a game.
Limit any ‘sit down’ sessions to a maximum of 20-30 minutes.
Give your child plenty of physical exercise. Give more time to learning through play, exploration and creativity. For example, making bubbles and talking about how they look and feel.
Break any ‘school work’ into smaller chunks to maintain your child’s interest.
You could try to ‘disguise’ work, for example, make writing part of a game or role-play. This is likely to be far more palatable!
Establish a well-understood routine with breaks, physical activities and rewards. This will help keep your child happy and focussed.
We all love a reward for our efforts! Keep you child motivated with timely rewards. You know what will work best for your child!
Praise good behaviour. Ignore unwanted behaviour.
You could try to distract your child. For example, hand puppets work wonders!
You could try asking, ‘Shall we finish by doing this bit, or this bit? You can choose!’ (The illusion of choice)
Take a 5 minute break – you will both benefit from bringing the heat out of the situation and having a breather!
Avoid any shouting or ‘battle zones’ at all costs. If the unwanted behaviour persists, explain why this is wrong. Be firm, clear and consistent. Use sanctions as a last resort which should always be fully explained.
Useful links: www.verywellfamily.com/discipline-strategies-for-preschoolers-620098

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 13:39:29

Mkh873w

Two of my children can only access education when paired with specialist 1:1 support in class. Regardless of differentiated work, they are finding it impossible to do any homework at all. They have EHCPs and are fully funded but we are left totally adrift.

Why are they getting no help at all?

Two of my children can only access education when paired with specialist 1:1 support in class. Regardless of differentiated work, they are finding it impossible to do any homework at all. They have EHCPs and are fully funded but we are left totally adrift. Why are they getting no help at all?

Hello,
You are not alone. The most important thing is that both your children feel happy and secure at this difficult time. Make sure you have a routine that works for you, makes this time predictable and that you all feel happy and safe as much as possible.
The law relating to what local authorities and CCGs must do to support children with EHCPs has been relaxed because of Covid-19. However, as both your children have EHCPs, their schools should be contacting you each week. You should ask them for advice and help. If you need to, contact them. Similarly, many local authorities have changed the rules around any support you might get socially. For example, if you receive Direct Payments, it is likely you can use this to purchase things that can help you.
There are lots of ways you can support them with their needs, without worrying about the work set by school. For example, finding things they enjoy doing and interacting with them can really help with communication. There are also a lot of useful places you can go on the internet to find help. For example, specialist teachers offer advice in blogs on how to support your children, depending on their needs.

Information about relaxation of law relating to EHCP:
www.specialneedsjungle.com/coronavirus-ehcp-laws-temporarily-relaxed-as-las-told-to-just-do-their-best/

www.gov.uk/government/publications/modification-notice-ehc-plans-legislation-changes

Places to get support with learning:
www.specialneedsjungle.com/

www.gov.uk/guidance/help-children-with-send-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19

www.helpkidzlearn.com/

www.sensoryapphouse.com/

www.visuals2go.com/

www.brainparade.com/products/see-touch-learn-free/

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 13:40:12

StarLinehelpline

Hello Howmanysleepsnow

Thank you for your question. This is a tricky time for parents as they try to navigate the role of parent/teacher.

First of all, I would recommend speaking to your school to see if there is anything they can do to help him access the learning they have provided. If he is becoming distressed from worksheets, the chances are that putting more in front of him may just make the situation worse. From his age, I can see he is in year 2 (and probably one of the youngest in his year group). You are right to think about the importance of reading. The chances are the school has provided a reading book which is matched to his reading ability, I would use this as a starting point. Some schools have also put some tips/advice for reading at home on their website, so that would be worth a look. Listen to him read and ask him questions about what happened in the book, for example ‘why do you think the wolf blew the houses down?’. Encourage him to re-read the book either until he is more fluent (maybe 3 or 4 times). Think about how we read now, we don’t rely on identifying single sounds within a word, we just know what these words say. Over time, these words will become ‘sight’ words to your son the more he sees them and sounds them out. The more fluent he reads, the higher the likelihood he will be able to answer some questions about the book.

As your child is in year 2, he will not be due to return on 1 June but don’t let this stop you ringing the school and asking for access to further reading books/resources within his development stage. Let the reading experiences be positive and try to present this as a relaxing, enjoyable time. I’m hesitant to suggest any websites or online resources to support your son with his reading as each school goes about teaching children to read in different ways, any wrong recommendation could lead to confusion by the time your son returns to school.

If your son is managing mathematics well, there is no harm in keeping this going alongside the reading.

I wish you all the best!

Hello Howmanysleepsnow

Thank you for your question. This is a tricky time for parents as they try to navigate the role of parent/teacher.

First of all, I would recommend speaking to your school to see if there is anything they can do to help him access the learning they have provided. If he is becoming distressed from worksheets, the chances are that putting more in front of him may just make the situation worse. From his age, I can see he is in year 2 (and probably one of the youngest in his year group). You are right to think about the importance of reading. The chances are the school has provided a reading book which is matched to his reading ability, I would use this as a starting point. Some schools have also put some tips/advice for reading at home on their website, so that would be worth a look. Listen to him read and ask him questions about what happened in the book, for example ‘why do you think the wolf blew the houses down?’. Encourage him to re-read the book either until he is more fluent (maybe 3 or 4 times). Think about how we read now, we don’t rely on identifying single sounds within a word, we just know what these words say. Over time, these words will become ‘sight’ words to your son the more he sees them and sounds them out. The more fluent he reads, the higher the likelihood he will be able to answer some questions about the book.

As your child is in year 2, he will not be due to return on 1 June but don’t let this stop you ringing the school and asking for access to further reading books/resources within his development stage. Let the reading experiences be positive and try to present this as a relaxing, enjoyable time. I’m hesitant to suggest any websites or online resources to support your son with his reading as each school goes about teaching children to read in different ways, any wrong recommendation could lead to confusion by the time your son returns to school.

If your son is managing mathematics well, there is no harm in keeping this going alongside the reading.

I wish you all the best!

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 14:11:47

allotmentwarrior

Hi, any top tips for homeschooling a resistant 7 year old. She's already behind in her maths and don't want her to fall further behind. She does everything she can to avoid doing the work and needs a lot of 1-1 support to get going. As I'm fitting this in with my day job, this is v.hard work!

It is important to recognise you are not a teacher. Be kind to yourself!
You might be able to discuss with your employer how they can support you to manage this situation. Are there some aspects of your work which are flexible? Look at the work that has been set for your child and plan out how this can be managed realistically.
Regarding maths and falling behind - have you contacted your child’s school to discuss your concerns? Speak to your child – find out exactly what they are finding tricky. There are lots of really helpful resources on BBC Bitsesize and Oak Academy. Look at the things your child is unsure of – this might help them to complete the work.
It’s so important to maintain your child’s positive attitude to learning. Set clear rules and routines. A couple of things you could do include negotiating and agreeing a timetable for the week – write it out and stick it up. Have planned learning time. Children feel more comfortable and learn better with a predictable routine to the day, even if this is difficult.
If your child struggles to concentrate and engage, break learning down into bite sized chunks. Praise and reward them when they are successful. You might say, ‘OK, see if you can do these three on your own…’ and try to build up the length of time your child can work on their own.

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 14:12:58

Mountainash

Our ten year old is doing AQE test papers. He is a bright child but, doesn’t read the questions properly or even see where he has inadvertently missed some questions. How can we resolve this?
His reading is very good and his eyesight is good.

Hello Mountainash

It sounds as if your son may be rushing through the papers, which is why he is making unexpected mistakes. You do not say whether your son is doing these papers as practice for the real thing or as part of general revision. In any event, it would be a good idea for you or someone else in the family to sit with him while he goes through the next paper. Go through it slowly and make sure he reads and understands what the questions are asking him to do. Maybe discuss the questions and ask him to explain his thinking and answers. This will help you to identify what he does and does not know and will help him improve his approach to tests. Remind your son that the practice tests are not a race but a way to help him get better at understanding and answering questions.
 Sometimes a good idea is to use a pictorial approach. This helps children to really think through what the question means and how they want to demonstrate that. For example, a bar model is a useful and fun way for children to be able to show their understanding. Using this approach can really help children to get to the bottom of what a question is asking. They could use this approach to share their thinking with someone else. At first, they may struggle but over time it becomes a fun and simple way that most children really enjoy using. There are many useful websites available for ‘Bar Modelling’. For example: www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/44565 could be used to make a start.

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 14:14:13

AnneOfAvonlea

My daughter has ASD. She is bright but has high anxiety. School is sending 6 pieces of work a day to fit with timetable and we are managing 2 or 3. Both us feel rubbish about this. Any tips to reframe it as a success rather than a failure?

Hello AnneOfAvonlea

First, don’t feel rubbish. No-one expects you to be a teacher during this difficult time and no-one will want your daughter to feel overwhelmed. Secondly, managing 2 to 3 pieces of work is brilliant and an achievement. Focus on what is going well with your daughter.
Talk to your daughter about the work and agree your own success measures. For example, you could agree together an aim to complete 3 pieces of work a day. Have set times in the day when the work will be done and keep them small and spaced out. Celebrate every achievement. You might also agree to focus on certain subjects where your daughter is experiencing greater success. Remember, the most important thing is that you both feel happy and safe during this difficult time. Remind each other of that too.
Contact your daughter’s school. They will not want to be putting undue stress on either of you. After you, they will know your daughter and her needs best. Agree with them what your daughter should be getting done.

You are not alone. A lot of other families are having similar challenges at this difficult time. There are a lot of useful online resources to support you and young people with ASC.

Information about relaxation of law relating to EHCP:
www.specialneedsjungle.com/coronavirus-ehcp-laws-temporarily-relaxed-as-las-told-to-just-do-their-best/

www.gov.uk/government/publications/modification-notice-ehc-plans-legislation-changes

Places to get support with learning:
www.specialneedsjungle.com/

www.gov.uk/guidance/help-children-with-send-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Wellbeing:
1.Carers U.K. caring & contingency planning: www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health
2.Calm Jars: lemonlimeadventures.com/lego-calm-down-jar/
3.Kooth, online anonymous metal health support: www.kooth.com/
4.Young Minds blog and other services: youngminds.org.uk/blog/
5.Headspace, mindfulness: www.headspace.com/
6.Rethink, online Coronavirus Hub: www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/covid-19-support/
7.Apps: www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/apps-to-help-with-mental-health
8.Personalised digital self-management tools and human support: braininhand.co.uk/

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 14:15:17

Wannaflyaway

How to stop my reception age daughter to not get so upset every time she makes a mistake and also how to get her to be more motivated.

Hello Wannaflyaway

Talk about your own mistakes and how you overcame these- break into small steps. Share your own stories with your child.
Make a mistake and talk it though with your child- invite ideas to help you work through it. Model to your child that we all make mistakes; what matters is that we talk them though and learn from these.
Set realistic expectations for your child and self- don’t overpraise at the same time.
Make time to have meaningful conversations with your child/really listen to what they have to say, ask questions to encourage them to tell you more.
Make learning ‘fun’- inject songs, rhymes, challenges, simple instructions etc.
Work out learning opportunities from themes/topics /ideas your child is interested in…..follow their interests
Make sure activities have a ‘purpose’- so that your child can see that their work makes a difference e.g. make NHS posters, marks, food parcels, write short stories, cards for neighbours who are self-isolating etc.

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 14:18:47

TiffinVsHampton

St Pauls girls.
My DD will be A levels at St Pauls Girls taking Maths + Further Maths. Is it possible to know what books are used at SPGS so some work can be done whilst in lockdown! I know they use Edexcel board but there are so many books and its easy to get confused. Any pointers pls? Thanks

Hello TiffinVsHampton

The best thing to do is to contact your daughter’s school to find out what textbooks they use for Maths and Further Maths.

StarLinehelpline Fri 15-May-20 14:23:14

BellaPie

Help with reading while homeschooling - can anyone recommend any videos / apps to help a slow/early reader to do on their own for 10-15 minutes, while parents try to do day job wfh? Something showing the words on screen at the same time as the narrator is reading them out loud, so the child can follow along? Maybe karaoke style with the words lighting up or a dot/ball bouncing onto the word as it is read?

Hello BellaPie

This is an excellent website www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/have-some-fun/storybooks-and-games/
The story books and games section is interactive with a wide range of books, recommendations, book reviews for all ages. Children can have the story read, follow the words so that they can begin to match sounds to the written word.

Mountainash Fri 15-May-20 16:46:42

Thank you very much! Your advice worked a treat.
Someone sat with him today and his score was 82%

Phineyj Wed 20-May-20 18:05:52

@BellaPie Reading Eggs is good for what you need and has discounts at the moment (they have good interactive Maths too callef Maths Seeds).

AnneOfAvonlea Wed 20-May-20 22:05:12

Wow! Thank you so much for this advice. The calm jars look amazing.
Dd doesnt have an EHCP but we are muddling along. I will go through all of the links as they look really helpful.

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