Cake
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    • Speaking from the UK, and with one child at university and another at senior school, I have some perspectives to share.

      Firstly, I am deeply disappointed in the educational establishment and their response to movement restrictions. They have failed us.

      My youngest daughter goes to a (seemingly) reputable private school that you might have expected to react appropriately and rapidly given the distance from direct government oversight and the fees they charge. But no. What we get, in fact, is a slow and unfocused response that suggests teachers have started their summer holidays early.

      Youngest daughter now has a revised timetable that is limited to morning "lessons". Only one of these are held by video conference. The rest take the form of work distributed to a shared drive, where pupils are told to just get on with it. Afternoons are crammed with ridiculous "creative projects" that are a thinly veiled attempt to fool parents that there is a full program of activity. There is not, and the parent body is not fooled, either.

      The senior school sent out the inevitable "parent survey" to ask "how are we doing during lockdown"? One of the questions enquired whether my child was getting "too much, just enough, or not enough" video tutelage. I responded by asking why the school couldn't just revert to the normal timetable and have every lesson taught by video conference - after all, if it can be done for one lesson per day, it can be done for all lessons. No reply.

      At university, eldest daughter has some video lecture, but nowhere near enough. She is a medical student, and more often than not what she receives as "teaching" are Power Point slides that would have been part of lectures. She showed me one the other day - a series of cranial X Rays that were obviously intended to show something but that actually reveal nothing without the concurrent explanatory dialogue from a lecturer. As my daughter asked me, "would you want someone operating on your prostate if this was the basis of their understanding"? Absolutely not.

      The senior school performance is the worst of the two. Seriously, the tools exist to teach the regular program on the regular timetable by way of video conferencing. To adopt a half-arsed approach where only one lesson a day is conducted as such makes me very angry, as it implies that teachers are not putting pupils first. Having proved they can deliver by video, what excuse do they have for not doing so across all teaching?

      Obviously I am very close to this issue, and I may be biased as a result. Would be happy to hear from anyone that could explain or defend the school performance described above.