Advice for parents during our temporary school closure

Whilst the school is closed, please do not phone the school.  All emails sent to will be read and replied to.

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Hello to all parents in our Little Ilford School community

This is a difficult time for us all, and there is a lot of new information to process and changes to adjust to. There is some general guidance for parents about school closures given by the government here:

Here are some links that might support you with questions and concerns you have:
Newham Borough covid-19 updates:



If you are suffering hardship as a result of recent events, the information below may be of help:

Free School Meals
If you have recently started to claim benefits, your child may qualify for free school meals.  You can register at this link: Apply for Free School Meals 

If your child already qualifies for Free School Meals, you can claim supermarket vouchers at this link:

Citizens advice bureau:

Here is some information about paying energy bills:

Other questions about the virus are answered here:


Help with being at home with your children

Here you will find some general advice on how to cope with being at home all day long with your children. Please follow this link for information about the school’s vision for home learning, and advice for supporting your children with their learning:

Here are some suggestions that we have found from researching what parents are doing with their families in “lockdown” around the world at the moment. These are only suggestions so please do not worry if they do not work for you. You know your family and your children best, and so are best placed to make decisions about how you cope during this period.

Ease any anxieties
Some children may be frightened about the Covid-19 rules and symptoms so talk to them calmly with facts to reassure them. Make sure to keep the conversation open. Let your kids know that if they have any questions or want to talk about it again, they’re welcome to come to you. There is some advice about talking to your children about the virus on these two websites:

Stick to a routine
Stick as closely as you can to your usual routine to keep a sense of normality. Set an alarm, have breakfast, and get them up and ready for the time they’d usually start school. You might find one of these timetable templates helpful:
You might decide to negotiate a later start time, so that your children can sleep in a bit. (Sleep is good for the immune system, after all.) We are setting work for children to do, so please refer to this link for the home learning guidance:

Review screen-time rules
Many of us are now spending longer on our phones/computers/TVs than we did previously. This isn’t something to panic over. You might want to encourage regular breaks from staring at a screen. You could check out the learning and academic channels on YouTube Kids to make screen time more productive. There is a wealth of great teaching and all for free. You may decide to stay in the room and supervise so they don’t stray on to other content. Remember, what you decide to do depends on your own family and circumstances.

Try and keep fit
Remember children need to exercise for at least half an hour a day. Maybe go for a walk, bike-ride, or even just do some gardening with your child. You could let your child plan and run an exercise class for the family. 

If you want to do some very easy at-home-yoga, "Yoga with Tim" is very enjoyable and easy to follow. The beginners videos are here: 

Here is some yoga designed for younger kids too:

If you’re lucky enough to have a patch of garden, you could do some gardening with your children. Gardening is often good exercise and also gets children outside in the fresh air and learning something new. Here are some how-to videos on Gardening for children:

Keep talking to your children
Have a family chat time each day when everyone gets five minutes to talk about how they feel. It may seem odd at first, but it quickly becomes a lovely way to share feelings and bond the family together. Don't worry if it doesn't work out as you imagine – teenagers are still developing their communication skills, as you well know! You could Google ‘conversation starters with children’ for topics to talk about over meals: their favourite band, what superpower they would most like to have, who they would invite to a meal if they could invite anyone, living or dead.

Here are some more ideas about things to do together:

Teach them life skills
A lot of skills that children need to learn aren’t taught at school. This could be a great opportunity to teach children how to do laundry, budget to do a weekly shop, look after house plants, change a bed, sweep/vacuum the floor and so many more life skills. The has lots of fun and developmentally beneficial activities that you could try. 

Learn together (or let them explore on their own)
There are many fantastic learning resources available to children online, especially during this period of social distancing.

Here you can watch the ballet boyz, the bolshoi ballet company, and shows produced by the National Theatre::

There are more ideas about learning activities here:

See how your kids can help
Teens might be able to help older neighbours and friends who are self-isolating by doing a shop. Check who needs help in your neighbourhood and consider setting up a WhatsApp group of local families to help. Could you and your children be part of the volunteer army that helps elderly or single people who are suffering from coronavirus and deliver vital supplies to their doorstep?

Bring out the old-school games
Revive fun pastimes like hopscotch and skipping. They may seem old fashioned to modern kids but once they try them, they’ll get into them. You could also try card games and word games, or set up a ‘family disco’ and get your children to plan the playlist. Find a project you can do together, such as building a den, bird table, even clearing the garage. You could play a family board game together. Many board games require logic, strategy and basic maths. 


Mental wellbeing

The three main things that children are going to miss are their usual routine, their chance to connect with their community and their opportunities to be successful and accomplish things. Teenagers in particular may miss their friends terribly and, due to their adolescent brains, feel invincible and omnipotent in the face of the virus. Because they may impulsively decide to take risks, it’s worth explaining why guidelines need to be followed. A potential rule of thumb with parenting teenagers is: ask, don’t tell. So ask them: why do you think we’re isolating? What do you think the ramifications of you meeting up with your friends might be? 

Here are some other ideas for looking after your child’s wellbeing:

  • Writing in a diary is a great way to relax and reflect. Writing in this way offers an outlet of sharing innermost thoughts, penning them to paper and allowing them to be released from the mind. 
  • Your children could write a letter or a postcard to a family member that they haven’t seen for a while. 
  • If you want to try some meditation, download the "calm" app or the "headspace" app, or try some of their videos online: 

If you or your children are worrying or feeling stressed by this situation, please search ‘NHS every mind matters’ for support and guidance, or read the information on these two sites:

We hope that this advice is helpful for you. The staff at Little Ilford School are wishing you and your families good health and happiness during this difficult time.

Click on this link for all information on Online Home Learning for students and parents



Little Ilford School