DESPAIRING parents have warned of “a generation of dumb kids” after Boris Johnson closed schools until at least March 8.
The government’s decision came as a hammer blow to millions of mums and dads struggling to balance home schooling and work during lockdown.
Frustrated parents have warned of a ‘generation of dumb kids’ after schools were closed until at least March 8Credit: Getty Images – Getty
But teaching unions urged the government to shut schools for even longer and warned ending lockdown too early could see Britain plunged into a fourth national shutdown.
Parents across the country vented their frustration as hopes of an early return to the classroom were dashed.
Dismayed mum Lucy Smith told MailOnline her work productivity has suffered as she helps children six-year-old Bonnie and four-year-old Raymond with Zoom lessons.
Property worker Lucy from West Hampstead, north London, told MailOnline: “It’s terrible. I’m expected to go on to Zoom at 11am every day without fail even though sometimes I have meetings.
“It’s definitely going to be a generation of dumb kids.”
Another mum, Caroline Irvine, 55, from Cheltenham, said she was “horrified” schools will open on March 8 at the earliest.
She said she was finding it tough to look after her 13-year-old daughter and work as a solicitor at the same time
Caroline added: “It’s no longer about education but the damage to our children not seeing their friends; no sport, no clubs and being in front of screens all day and then gaming in the evening.
“It’s a massive strain working at home and helping with school work and trying to ensure exercise is done as well.”
Parents lashed out after the government’s decision
Some joked about drowning their sorrows during the home schooling ‘hell’
Frustrated mums and dads spoke of their sorow
Boris said he hoped schools could reopen on March 8 but the data would only be clear in the middle of FebruaryCredit: AFP
The PM announced today that getting kids back to class was the “priority” and would come first.
And he expressed sympathy for mums and dads juggling home schooling and the myriad other demands of their children from breakfast until bedtime.”
A poll from Mumsnet out this week revealed that 62 per cent of parents want kids in primaries and exam years to return to school after the February half term.
But the PM admitted children can’t return to class after the February break as hoped .
Children will have to learn remotely for at least another five weeksCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Kids must continue learning remotely for another five weeks, with March 8 the earliest possible return date, the PM told the Commons.
Embattled mums and dads took to social media to express their fury.
Chris Bell tweeted: “Only 57,300 minutes to go till the kids go back to school!”
Stephanie Melrose said: “Parents across the UK… grab the nearest pillow to scream into.”
Parents across the UK… grab the nearest pillow to scream into
Claire Holt, a mum from Surrey, posted: “8th of bloody March. Buckle right in with a lot of gin.”
Marina Frow, from Sheffield, tweeted: “Dare not even tell my kids the latest news.
“Close non-essential shops and the rates will fall quicker. Is coffee more important than education?!”
A roadmap outlining a “phased” exit lockdown will be published in the week beginning February 22.
Data in mid-February on Covid mortality rates will drive the government’s decision on reopening schools on March 8.
But union chiefs accused the PM of “misplaced optimism” after he announced a possible March 8 reopening date.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of Britain’s largest teaching union, the National Education Union (NEU), said: “If we come out too early, we will end up in lockdown again.
“We all want schools to open, but like the Prime Minister we want them to open when it is safe to do so.
“This has to be done sustainably and safely.
“But in setting out a potential date of March 8, falling once again into his characteristic and too often misplaced optimism, he is pre-empting a decision that will have to be made in mid-February at the very earliest.”
An NEU spokesman claimed suggesting a return date now “runs the risk of creating false hope”.
They added: “The Prime Minister may now be immune to the embarrassment of U-turns, but school leaders, teachers and support staff, not to mention families and students, are utterly exhausted by them.”
Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has warned of a “real danger” the school shutdown could last until summer.
She told The Sun this month that the first lockdown ruined some kids’ mental health and widened the gap between pupils from rich and poor backgrounds.