Combating the ‘Summer Slide’

Our partners at Tutorwiz discuss their recent parent survey, and share ways to support your child’s academic progress through the summer holidays.

As a leading Ed-Tech company helping parents and children with Educational Support, one of the many heart-breaking stories we heard of the pandemic was the way many tired and overworked parents had to watch their children fall behind academically. Unfortunately, parents witnessed the so-called "COVID slide" firsthand. Children are generally enthusiastic about school, but since the pandemic, grades and motivation have slipped to the extent that we hear a parent say that their child now hates school.

The breaks in consistent schooling meant that, on average, students began this year four to six months behind academically, with the most considerable lag in maths. If parents are currently worried about learning losses, they may be even more anxious when their child returns in September, especially if nothing is done during the next few months, as the issue will continue into the new school year.

Our Poll Results

In a recent poll from Tutorwiz, it was discovered that only 50% of parents surveyed said their children were excited about going back to school; conversely, only 8% of their children enjoyed working from home! However, the most significant point was that only 38% of parents wanted extra hours and longer school days, whilst 45% wanted more personalised tutoring because schools and teachers were slow to mark the children's work.

This says – and consensus from schools supports – that they do not intend to extend the school day to help children catch up. So, what does this mean for parents? Teachers themselves say that increased one-to-one support for pupils is needed more than ever to aid educational recovery and catch-up.

So, as students enter their summer holidays with fewer restrictions than last year, it’s important to remember the term ‘Summer Slide’. It happens every year, and this year could be more acute.

Nurture Social and Emotional Wellbeing

After a year of screens and intermittent quarantines, parents and professionals alike have legitimate concerns about school children's social and emotional state. Luckily, there are many ways to help combat the summer slide, help your child to feel excited about learning and the return to school.

Day summer camps, group activities and more socialising may be just what the doctor ordered to help kids re-engage, especially after an isolating and traumatic year of disruption and loss. The social and emotional learning outcomes that result from socialising experiences will help young people prepare to thrive in the new school year, especially if they are progressing from Primary to Secondary. This is particularly true for children who already struggle with social interaction and those experiencing re-entry anxiety due to the pandemic.

Preparing Your Child for the Next School Year

The chances are that if you ask a student about working during the summer holidays, they may respond unfavourably: ‘Why would I want to go to school during my holiday?’ More often than not, summer learning is mistakenly seen as punishment! The truth is, summer learning programmes can be impactful, enriching, and fun.

A typical nine-month school year won't be enough to address the COVID slide this summer. Children who continue with some educational support will be able to catch up and minimise the slide. However, the essential rule here is that it must be carried into the new school year. Little and often is critical.

We don't advocate working 5 hours per day during the summer holiday; that is too intensive. Short lessons, completed throughout the day, 3 to 4 times per week is more than enough.

In Summary

What works in closing the learning gap and preparing for the new school year? Academically focused, supportive programmes used during the summer break will help to speed recovery from learning loss. The three points that need to be considered by parents are:

  1. A tutoring system that personalises the weekly lesson plans to the individual student.
  2. A routine during the summer holiday. 20 minutes of learning a day is all that is needed. Consistent support and routines help students to recover both academically and emotionally from disrupted periods of learning.
  3. The parent offers an encouragement culture at home combined with an incentive and reward scheme for their child.

Adopting an intuitive, engaging, technology-enabled system with adequately resourced tutor support for human interaction is the ideal prescription to help students re-engage, close the knowledge gap, and catch up on lost learning. A system that rewards the student on work completed is a significant factor in getting them engaged to do the work over the summer break.

After all, little and often works wonders, but also remember; young children aren't the best at making decisions about their future; their goal is often to swap vegetables for chips and ice cream at dinner! Again, the parent is the guide, counsellor, motivator and timekeeper.

To all families, have a safe and adventure-filled summer break.

Tutorwiz - Make Learning Easy
Assessment-based, online learning with dedicated tutor support. Identify any knowledge gaps that are holding your child back. Advanced students can thrive and get ahead. We provide interactive and intuitive, personalised weekly lesson plans that build children's confidence and deliver results.