School admin and the tyranny of too much information

To negotiate schooling and all that comes with it in lockdown requires levels of psychological training that are probably beyond many experts, let alone parents.

Books and stationary on a school desk


The last week has seen a lot of emails from schools. School administration has become a part-time job. I have children in year 5, year 10 and year 12.

The year 5 is quite relaxed, but finding it a little difficult to adapt to the post-half term post-birthday home school schedule. Because some of the classes have gone back to school everything has changed. All the work only son was doing before has been transferred to another site and there is more emphasis on English, which he hates. Most of the work involves following links to other sites and it can be difficult to work out what is involved. Only son was given a maths challenge, but it’s for secondary school level and I spent Friday night trying to recall how on Earth to work it all out. The work element is fine; it’s the teaching element that he’s missing.

There have been quite a few emails about years 10 and 12. My daughters are at different schools so different systems apply. I have yet to work out how these might affect, say, the school run. There has been more clarity on what will happen in year 10 – at least up until the end of June. What comes next is yet to be determined. For year 12 we had to book slots for each lesson in different option blocks and wait to see if we get them. The trouble was it was impossible to work out what the option blocks were.

Presumably they were sent to daughter two, but she never ever checks her email, despite me suggesting it several times daily. She will do up to eight two-hours sessions from mid-June to the end of term. “What’s the point?” she asked. I personally think this will help her. She is really struggling with motivation and just going into school and talking to a teacher, as long as she takes the opportunity to ask them for what she needs, could help her to focus a bit more.

The other thing is that she will be leaving school next year. She has no idea at all what she wants to do. When we did finally get into her email late on Friday there were messages marked “Opportunities” with a long list of virtual taster days, summer schools, apprenticeship sessions and so forth on them. The problem is there are way too many “opportunities”. This overload causes paralysis. She just needs to sit down with someone who knows the options and work out what she wants to do before she can even begin to know where to begin with the opportunities.

Getting her to sit down with me is proving a challenge. I have to get her at the right moment and that moment might be when I am in the middle of work deadlines. The same goes for daughter three. How do you motivate people without putting undue pressure on them? I’m not sure I’m up to the job.

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