Fixed daily routines for work submissions, specific and frequent feedback from teachers, and the use of ‘live’ lessons were associated with more positive perceptions of home learning for parents, according to findings from the ‘Big Lockdown-Learning Parent Survey’, published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) today.
The survey was conducted using a survey app called Parent Ping, with parents and carers answering daily questions about their child’s experience of learning at home. The research aimed to provide insights into primary school parents’ and children’s experiences during the period of partial school closures at the beginning of 2021
Launched at the end of January, it collected daily responses from around 2,300 parents whose children attend the 86 state primary schools that took part in this study.
The study found that there was little difference between schools or socio-demographic groups in how successful parents thought home learning was.
Parents were asked to answer 2 – 5 questions per day for a period of six weeks. Not every parent answered a question every day, with daily response rates varying from 900 ‑1,200. Over 300 teachers from the participating schools also completed a one-off survey about their schools’ approaches to home learning. The research was led by Education Intelligence Limited and supported by the Education Endowment Foundation.
The study found that there was little difference between schools or socio-demographic groups in how successful parents thought home learning was. But parents eligible for free school meals, single parent families and families with more than one child did report slightly less positive perceptions of the success of home learning than other families.
However, the study found four clear challenges that families faced that were strongly associated with whether home learning was perceived to be successful:
- The digital divide. Families without enough devices or other technological challenges reported very low perceptions of success of home learning.
- Balancing remote learning with other responsibilities. 62% of parents said they were struggling to combine home schooling with other commitments, and these parents had lower perceptions of success of learning at home.
- Confidence in supporting learning. Parents who said they struggled to understand the work set, felt low confidence about supporting learning and low confidence about supporting their children’s behaviour and emotions reported lower success of learning at home. There is an opportunity for schools to learn about what particularly leads parents to struggle to understand work that is set for completion at home, since this may help families with weekly homework assignments.
- Parental perceptions of their child’s attitude towards learning. This is a reminder that the challenge of supporting home learning in part depends on how keen the child is to complete the work independently and that, regardless of how schools support families, there will always be considerable variation.
While this study gives important insight into parents’ and teachers’ experiences of remote learning, it’s important to note that the results of this study are not generalisable to all parents and schools nationally. This is because schools and parents self-selected to participate in this study. However, the parents and schools in this study are a good representation of the national population of primary schools in terms of their socio-demographic characteristics.
To find out more about the Big Lockdown-Learning Parent Survey, you can read the full report or this blog by Parent Ping.