Warning of pupil 'fear of overload’ on school return

Students have an 'absolute fear’ of catch-up – but they ‘can’t wait to get back’ to school, say union leaders 

Schools reopening: Pupils have a 'fear of overload' under Covid catch-up plans, warns union leader

Teachers will have to deal with a "fear of overload" among pupils worried about being burdened with catch-up work when they return fully from Monday, a heads’ leader has warned.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union the NAHT, was speaking at a discussion event as part of the FED National Education Summit this morning, when he said: “The amount of contact with young people throughout this [pandemic] is limited…but what’s really striking me right now, as much as anything else, is the fear of overload upon return.

“The conversations we have about catch-up and mental health in the public domain are really beginning to affect the views and the feeling of young people in a way that leads to them, rather than us, responding to their desires and their needs."

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“What I’m hearing right now is that there’s an absolute fear of what catch-up means and I know in the profession we’ve changed the language to ‘recovery’ [rather than ‘catch-up’] but the talk of catch-up for so long has resonated and has stuck, and the conversations about ‘Am I going to have to be in school on Saturday as well and throughout the summer holiday to catch up?’ is really creating some fear amongst young people.”

Schools reopening: Pupils' fears about 'catch-up'

Also in the same discussion event, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union Mary Bousted said there was a recognition among teenagers that life was hard without school.

She said: “What I’m hearing from so many parents is that their teenager can’t wait to go back to school, which seems to be a complete revolution in terms of what teenagers normally say about school.

“I think there’s been a recognition by teenagers and adolescents that when they’re not in school it’s pretty lonely, it’s pretty hard and it’s pretty boring. Schools are not just places for teaching and learning but they are also places where children and young people learn to be members of society.”

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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