Working parents’ experiences of home-schooling during school closures in Northern Ireland: what lessons can be learnt?

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In a radically changed and still changing world, parents, schools and pupils have had to adapt to a new teaching and learning modality. Working parents have faced the competing demands of employment and home-schooling, and schools provided support to pupils through online platforms and other resources. A qualitative approach elicited the views and experiences of working parents through a social media parents’ group in Northern Ireland (NI). Only well-educated mothers responded revealing their extreme lack of confidence and pedagogical skills, complete exhaustion, frayed family relationships, and acute concern about children’s educational loss and its future implications, particularly those for whom public examinations were imminent. Communication between teachers and both pupils and parents was deemed crucial, as were greater clarity from teachers on tasks set, less screen time, daily live interaction, feedback on work done, and more printed resources from schools to avoid undue expense for parents, especially those with children of different ages in different education sectors. Much more effective home-schooling could be facilitated if government required employers to arrange flexible working hours, at least for one parent. However, the creation of a daily structure that included lessons and leisure, the latter both indoors and outdoors, was beneficial and therapeutic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalIrish Educational Studies
Early online date14 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 14 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Educational Studies Association of Ireland.


  • Northern Ireland
  • home-schooling
  • school closures
  • working parents


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