HOME schooling during the current lockdown is more challenging for parents than it was last year.

That’s the view of Lisa Alder, who has swapped the day-to-day running of her holistic and beauty therapy business to teach her two children at home in Haydon Bridge.

But Lisa has praised staff at Newbrough C of E Primary School, where both Zach (8) and Olivia (10) are pupils.

“These are exceptional times,” said Lisa. “I don’t think any parent would have expected to temporarily give up their job and become a teacher.

“Last summer it was a bit easier. We could do some artwork and some nature themed activities outside. Now we don’t have such good weather.

"This time it’s more academic. I think more is expected of us, but also you put pressure on yourself because as parents you want the best possible education for your children.”

Lisa said staff at the school were very good at setting work clearly each day online.

“The teachers have been excellent,” she said. “They ask us to do what we can and are always available if we need additional support.”

Lisa is also supported by her husband Jon, a key worker, serving as a watch manager with Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service, who works with the children in-between shifts.

Lisa admitted that the children are missing their regular activities, including cubs and football.

“It’s difficult for a lot of families because this is not really school for the children, it’s their home," she added.

“There’s a lot of things they miss and there have been tears and cuddles at times, but overall they are doing really well."

"But the school has been fantastic, they have the children's education and emotional wellbeing at heart.

"This is Olivia's last year at primary school and ideally, she'd be in school. We just have to make the most of the circumstances."

Over the past five years, Lisa has worked hard to establish and develop her business, Eden Beauty & Holistics.

After an initial closure of almost four months last year, she was able to re-start her venture and enjoyed a busy spell in the run-up to Christmas.

Despite using PPE and working under strict Covid-safety measures, the introduction of Tier Four restrictions, followed by the current lockdown, forced another closure.

Lisa, who received help from the government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, said her clients had been very understanding.