‘I was at breaking point’ – honest account of homeschooling mums will relate to

Like so many parents, Masha Karpushina (pictured below) from north London, has been feeling the pressure of juggling work and kids at home.

After several months of home-schooling Kolya, 13, and Alyosha, nine, by day, and working as an illustrator and editor in the early mornings and at night, Masha is relieved for the sake of her children’s education and wellbeing.

But it will also take pressure off her. “I feel a sense of relief and hope,” says Masha, 38. “I was at breaking point in the week before half-term.

“I felt this overwhelming sense of irritation at everything. I’d reached my limit of patience and I had nothing more to give.

“Within two days of home-schooling you’re overwhelmed with problems, emotions, work – they just keep coming at you. It’s very good they’re going back.

“For me the most important thing is that the kids can see their friends again and have the opportunity to be kids.”

Government plans giving education a helping hand

■ An existing £1billion Covid catch-up package to tacklethe impact of lost teaching time, including a £650million catch-up premium for schools to support all pupils, and a £350million National Tutoring Programme for children who need it most

■ A new £700million education and recovery package to help young people in England catch up on lost learning due to the pandemic.

■ An £8million wellbeing programme has funded local support, training and resources for education staff to respond to the emotional and mental health pressures some children and young people may face.

Schools and colleges are now fully reopening, welcoming back all pupils, and their health and wellbeing are a priority. Schools are well prepared, with protective measures in place, including bubbles, increased hygiene, staggered breaks and ventilation.

Staff and pupils in secondary schools and colleges are also being advised to wear face coverings where social distancing cannot be maintained. Students will be tested twice a week, receiving three initial rapid tests at school or college before transitioning to twice-weekly home testing.

THE SCHOOLS TESTING PLAN

Now available for parents and adults in their households and bubbles

■ Up to one in three people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading it without knowing.
■ Rapid testing is a quick and easy way to find out if you have coronavirus. It’s free and takes around 30 minutes.
■ It’s a simple swab test to the nose and/or throat, using a rapid lateral flow test.
■ On return, secondary school pupils and college students will take three rapid tests at school or college to learn how to do
the test, then continue to test themselves at home with kits they will get from school.
■ If you are a parent or adult
in the household, childcare
or support bubble, you can
now get tested too. To do this you can either: get an assisted test at work if it is available; attend a test site to get tested; or pick up test kits to do at home. Where none of these options is possible, there
will be a small supply of tests online for people who need them the most.
■ The more of us that take part and report our results, the more we can protect each other from the virus and get back to
a more normal way of life.

To find out how to get a free regular rapid test, visit gov.uk/coronavirus

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