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UK News

Christian mum of six welcomes new gov support for disadvantaged pupils

by Heather Preston

A Christian mum of six has welcomed the pledge by the government to supply electronic devices to disadvantaged children being home-schooled during the pandemic.

On Monday, the day the summer term was supposed to have started, many children continued to learn from home following an announcement from the education secretary on Sunday.

Gavin Williamson admitted that the government could not give a date for when schools would be allowed to reopen and apologised to children for the interruption to their studies.

Christian parenting blogger and mum of six Emma Dawson tells Premier she's found home-schooling both a blessing and a challenge at times.

"We've got a schedule where they have to do something for their physical, emotional, spiritual, creative and educational health throughout the day.

"In order to use the iPads or computers well, one will be doing learning whilst the other one is doing something creative. One will be doing reading while the other one is doing some of their learning pack from home."

She explains that schools have provided at home learning packs and resources to assist parents but admits it can still be a challenge. Although the Dawson household have a laptop and two iPhones available she explains that the technology needs to be rotated between the children.

"There's half an hour stints of who's on what computer when. It's just trying to schedule who gets to go on what and sometimes there isn't anything and so I need to be creative in what we do. 

Research from The Sutton Trust's suggests some disadvantaged pupils are at risk of falling behind as they're not able to learn online from home.

In a bid to help struggling households the government has offered to provide free laptops and tablets to assist in digital learning.

Dawson has welcomed this pledge, warning that those most in need must be prioritised: "I think it's really good. I think we are in a privileged situation where we do have a laptop, and at least two of the kids have iPhones and we have a garden whereas a lot of people don't. 

"I hope that the right people get prioritised in that scheme," she added.

Dawson went on to encourage parents not to be too hard on themselves or their children whilst home-schooling and to take the opportunity to enjoy and shape their children in the gospel.

"This is a season where we can do what Deuteronomy says, train our kids and teach our kids. We can show them the gospel, we can teach them the gospel. And that's our main job anyway. 

"Enjoy it and the kids will enjoy it much more, they'll remember it much more if it was mum hung out with me as opposed to I didn't miss a day's education," she added.

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