One in three families don't have enough computers for kids' learningJanuary 25, 2021
Home schooling despair: One in three locked-down families don’t have enough computers for their children to study
- An exclusive poll for the Daily Mail today reveals the strains of home learning
- Scarcity of laptops, high cost of internet access and concerns about the impact of school closures on children are placing strain on parent’s mental health
- Working class parents have reported more stress related to home learning than their affluent counterparts
One third of families are struggling with home schooling because they simply do not have enough computers for their children, an exclusive poll for the Daily Mail today reveals.
Four in ten parents say the cost of computers and other items they need is too high, according to the survey.
More than a quarter cite the high cost of internet access as a problem.
And families worst hit by the Covid schools shutdown are the poorest and those in the North.
The Daily Mail poll illustrates the devastating effect of school closures on children – and their mums and dads.
The Daily Mail poll illustrates the effect of school closures on children and shows four in ten parents say the cost of computers and other items they need is too high
The survey by JL Partners shows that nearly one in five children (18 per cent) learning from home gets no ‘live’ schooling via a computer screen from their teacher per day whatsoever.
Significant numbers of parents say their children’s hopes of getting a good education, a university place or a career have been severely damaged by nearly a year of Covid disrupted education.
Even their social skills have been damaged by being denied face to face contact with their friends.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who came to power on a pledge to ‘level up’ Britain, will be concerned that the impact on poorer children is greater in all these categories.
Nor is it only the young who are suffering: a staggering one in two parents says their own mental health has deteriorated.
Mothers have borne the brunt: 55 per cent say their mental health has got worse – nine per cent higher than fathers (46 per cent).
Parents’ concern is shared by the wider public: 49 per cent of all adults say coronavirus has caused long-term damage to children’s life chances; 20 per cent disagree.
According to the poll, 82 per cent of children in England, Scotland and Wales are learning from home.A total of 32 per cent of parents say they do not have enough computers for their studies. Nearly one in five (19 per cent) has more than one child – but only one laptop.
An overwhelming 72 per cent of parents believe it is the Government’s responsibility to provide computers to children [Stock image]
Six per cent who do not have a computer are forced to use a mobile phone instead.
But – while there are clearly difficulties – two thirds of parents say they do have enough laptops to cope.
An overwhelming 72 per cent believe it is the Government’s responsibility to provide computers to make home learning easier; only seven per cent disagree.
Four in ten parents say the cost of ‘remote learning materials’ such as computers, software and exercise books, is too high.
While parents are largely supportive of teachers, 41 per cent want more help from schools for children forced to learn in their front room or kitchen; 29 per cent say they have enough support.
Twenty-seven per cent believe internet access costs too much, with 23 per cent saying they grin and bear it and pay up to stop their children falling behind.
Sixteen per cent of parents pay between £10 and £30 per week for internet access.
Most parents are doing their best to take the place of teachers: 44 per cent spend between one and three hours per day helping their children learn at home. An impressive additional 27 per cent devote more than three hours a day.
While 43 per cent of parents say they have taken over teaching duties because the school had ‘fallen short’ in its obligations; 30 per cent did not blame the school.
Remarkably, the survey suggests parents now do more ‘live lesson’ teaching than teachers.
Children unable to go to school are getting an average of two hours and six minutes of ‘live’ remote lessons from their school teacher a day – two minutes less than the average time parents spend teaching their offspring.
Seventeen per cent of parents in the South are paying for private tuition to help children learn at home – more than three times more than in the less prosperous North where 5 per cent do this.
Children who are not able to go to school are getting an average of two hours and six minutes of ‘live’ remote lessons [Stock image]
Nowhere is the class divide on the effect of the stress and strain on parents during the Covid crisis illustrated more vividly than the mental health impact.
Among affluent families, 39 per cent say their mental health has suffered; 20 per cent say it has improved.
However, among the poorest families, these figures are 61 per cent and five per cent respectively. The public agree that today’s young generation will feel the effects of the pandemic for decades.
Almost one in two (49 per cent) say it will inflict long-term damage to their children’s life chances; 20 per cent say it will not have this effect.
James Johnson of JL Partners said: ‘This poll lays bare the stark inequality of the Covid pandemic, and months of remote learning.
‘Middle-class parents say there has been no real impact on their children’s life chances, but children of working-class parents and the unemployed are short of laptops, their parents have seen their physical and mental health worsen, and they are the least likely to have remote lessons provided for by their school.
‘While some enjoy the comforts of being at home, this data shows that less affluent children are truly being left behind.’
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