Supporting your children's remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information and support for parents and carers of children who are learning at home.

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Applies to England

We know this is a challenging time for parents, carers and children. Remote education has brought new demands for them and changed how they engage with schools. Many parents and carers are balancing various responsibilities while supporting their children with education at home.

Schools and colleges are there to support you and your children in this.

Separate advice is available for parents and carers of early years children who have not yet started school.

What you should expect for your child’s remote education

Schools and colleges have been working hard to deliver high quality remote education. They are now expected to publish information about their remote education offer on their websites. This will help you to understand:

  • what your child will be studying at home
  • how you can support your child to engage with their remote curriculum

The remote education that schools provide should be equivalent in length to the teaching your child would normally get in school. You should expect this to include a mixture of:

  • recorded or live direct teaching time
  • time for pupils to complete activities independently, such as working through assignments, PE or reading in a comfortable space

Remote education should be suitably tailored if your child has special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The amount of remote education should be a minimum of:

  • key stage 1 to 3 hours a day, on average across the cohort, with fewer hours for younger children
  • key stage 2 to 4 hours a day
  • key stages 3 and 4 to 5 hours a day

Schools should also have a system in place to check pupils’ engagement with work on a daily basis. Schools can decide how this will take place. It could include:

  • monitoring pupils’ attendance at live or recorded lessons
  • checking that pupils have understood and completed their work
  • direct contact with pupils

Colleges are expected to:

  • continue to deliver as much of students’ planned hours as possible
  • provide students with regular feedback on their progress
  • as far as possible, provide students with live online teaching in place of face-to-face delivery

If you do have concerns about the remote education being provided by your child’s school or college, please discuss these first with the classroom teacher and if necessary, the headteacher or senior leader. If, having done so, you remain concerned, you can approach Ofsted.

More information on what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges is available.

Supporting your child during remote education

Parents and carers should not feel that they need to set work for their child.

However, the resources below can help you plan your child’s days during this period. These resources may also be useful for pupils and students to use alongside the work provided by their school or college.

If you need further support, we encourage you to speak to your child’s school or college about their remote education offer.

Engaging children at home

Watch Dr Elizabeth Kilbey’s top tips or read the video transcript (PDF, 167 KB, 3 pages).

Watch Dr Elizabeth Kilbey’s top tips

The Education Endowment Fund has produced support resources for parents. These include:

  • ways to support your child’s reading at home
  • advice on how to establish a routine with your child

Mental health and wellbeing

You can read guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19) is also available.

The following organisations offer information and support on mental health and wellbeing:

Your local library can also provide access to Reading Well: books on prescription, a collection of carefully curated titles for adults, children and young people to support common mental health conditions, or deal with difficult feelings and experiences. Find your local library to join up and borrow them.

Young people can get free, confidential support at any time from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations by:

  • texting SHOUT to 85258
  • calling Childline on 0800 1111
  • calling the Mix on 0808 808 4994

Resources for parents of children with SEND

We have worked with a range of other organisations to create extra resources for parents of children with SEND:

Curriculum materials are also available:

Additional educational resources

Your child’s school or college may suggest resources on their website.

The following examples are used by many schools and teachers, but parents may find them useful too:

Resources and activities from your local library

Your local library can provide access not only to hundreds of books and ebooks to borrow for free, but many also offer online reading groups for children, borrow bags made up of librarian-chosen books, activity ideas and other resources. Find your local library to explore what is available and to join up.

Online safety

It is important to have regular conversations about staying safe online, which amongst other things, include conversations about the importance of keeping any log-in credentials and passwords safe.

Encourage children to speak to you if they come across something worrying online. Support for parents and carers to keep children and young people safe from online harm is available. This includes resources to help you to talk to your child about a range of online safety issues, support to set up home filtering in a child-friendly way and support to set up age-appropriate parental controls on digital devices.

Published 19 April 2020
Last updated 15 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added top tips for supporting your child during remote education. Added links for information about the Reading Well booklist that supports mental health, how to find your local library and the services they offer, and online support for parents and carers to keep children and young people safe from online harm.

  2. Updated resources and added new section on ‘What you should expect for your child’s remote education’.

  3. Banner updated with information about pupils returning to school in the autumn term.

  4. Added guidance for secondary school children.

  5. First published.