Image: Sammy, 33, and Riley, 8, have been home-schooling throughout lockdown (credit: Sammy Westbury)

Parents have been reacting to the news that schools will be remaining closed for the vast majority of pupils across Nottingham.

Sammy Westbury, 33, Bestwood Park, has been home-schooling her three children aged four, eight and 10 throughout the school closures.

Ms Westbury’s children have been doing housework as well as homework as she said, “They have been doing some cooking with me. They print off recipes now and ask if we can do them together. They’re valuable life skills.”

Image: Homemade pizzas that Sammy and her children made for lunch

She has also been finding it an extra challenge as she has been doing a level three certificate in Sports and Teaching, so she has had some remote learning to do for herself.

Ms Westbury does not want schools to re-open if it is not necessary, so the news of the continued closure was reassuring to her.

Image: Sammy’s oldest child Kacey, 10, was given a tablet from Robin Hood School to work on

“I’m for it. It’s difficult to home-school but I’d rather do that to be safe.”

Caroline Fanshawe, Senior Area Manager of ‘Family Lives’ East Midlands. Family Lives is a charity that aims to provide support to families who struggle financially or socially and they have been especially busy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

With regards to the news of the extension of schools being closed she said she had been working with parents who are home-schooling and that, “Though it has been challenging, some parents find it useful to have a definite date to work towards.”

However, some single-parent families cannot cope with the added pressure.

“For some families this has been a case of trying to organise an already chaotic situation”

Caroline Fanshawe, Senior Area Manager, Family Lives East Midlands

Ms Fanshawe had some advice for parents who are home-schooling at the moment:

Try to get some structure in your day

“Children feel more secure with structure and that is very necessary during these uncertain times.”

Try to vary what you do day-to-day

“Just a small variation, whether it’s doing some cooking or crafts, will break up the monotony a bit.”

Try to do some exercise

“It may not be possible, but your head is a lot clearer after a walk so you can get back to what you’re doing.”

This links to a Nottingham-based project that Family Lives have been running called ‘Energise Families’, which provides torches so family groups can go on night-time walks.

The novelty of  wrapping up warm and having a stroll in the dark adds some excitement to exercise for children.

Although all of these things may not be possible for parents in some situations, this advice aims to help families throughout the arduous period.