People all over the country, and world, have been struggling with the detrimental impact of COVID-19 and its interference with life, work, finances, and school. Talking to parents in Stockton on Tees, home schooling their children has been incredibly challenging, especially to low-income families. In many schools, resource packs have been sent out to parents and some are available online, yet some of the families have not had internet access therefore have not been able to complete the online work, parents have had to improvise on daily education but with limited resources, this can prove difficult.
“I’m not the best at maths an English myself so to be able to teach my kids was a bit embarrassing for me and has actually knocked my confidence as a parent. I did the best I could and used the resource pack provided by the school, keeping the kids engaged seemed to be the most difficult task. I had no internet access for the first few weeks, I felt as though it was my fault that the kids may fall behind compared to their friends”
Mealtimes have put extra financial pressure on families especially to those who would usually access free school meals or some of the other extra support schemes (breakfast club/after school club). Some families have been receiving meal vouchers that can be spent at bigger supermarkets, but some did not get them until 4 weeks into “Lockdown”. I have found school support to be inconsistent from some of the families I have spoken to, one family had been given Easter Eggs for her children and some extra food items but only because she had asked for the extra support, I feel the information on where to get this extra support was not advertised well enough from the start.
“Being able to provide a healthy balanced choice of food has been a real struggle as fresh fruit and veg can be really expensive and has not been easy to get as often as I would like because of the whole lockdown situation, so I’m just getting the basic essentials, I am a single parent I really don’t want to take my kids into the supermarkets, I know some are not allowing kids in at all, so I use my local shop which doesn’t really offer fresh items”
The poverty truth approach believes that parents, students, and teachers working together is the best and most inclusive way to ensure everyone and every circumstance is considered, especially in unprecedented times like these. Decisions made that impact all parties involved should be made together.
“Nothing about us, without us, is for us”.