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SPACE: Supporting Parents and Carers @ Cambridge


Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, we are facing a period of time of working, studying – and living – in very different ways, made even more challenging when we have parenting and caring responsibilities.

If you are worried about how to balance parenting and working, please approach your line manager to discuss your working arrangements. The University expects all managers to be supportive of their staff, to initiate and encourage these conversations and for both staff and managers to recognise the need for flexibility. The University also recognises that staff have been working hard to manage work and personal commitments during the pandemic and is grateful for all your efforts. 

The following section provides tips for balancing your commitments over the next lockdown by adjusting your working pattern, discussing your workload and commitments with your line manager, communicating effectively with your colleagues. You may already be doing many of these things, however it may be worth re-visiting, as your needs and those of your institution may have changed.



  • Consider how adjusting your working arrangements on a temporary basis might help you balance your work and caring commitments over this time.
  • Speak to your line manager or consider how best to manage and prioritise your workload, meetings and existing deadlines according to your personal circumstances and the operational needs of your institution.  Two-way flexibility will be essential here. However, we appreciate that sometimes this will mean you may be unable to deliver what you would usually be able to, but we know that staff are doing their best under the circumstances.
  • You may want to discuss with your institution if you could work a compressed week by working longer hours per day allowing you to dedicate some days to your caring responsibilities during the week (this may be useful if you are in a position where you can share your caring responsibilities).
  • You may want to discuss with your institution if you could work at different times of the day or over the weekend (when there may be more support at home) and take time off for your caring responsibilities during the week.
  • You may be able to agree with your line manager that you temporarily reduce your working hours to obtain a better balance between caring responsibilities and work and this should not be pay affecting over this period. If you are looking to amend your working hours on a more permanent basis, speak to your line manager.


Keep your team updated on any changes to your working patternClearly communicating your needs may help to make your own life less stressful during this time, and you will probably have colleagues who are in a similar position. Your conversation may open the door for your colleagues to have this conversation also. You could do this by:

  • putting your revised working hours in your email signature and your voicemail to remind everyone of when you will be working, and  

  • letting your colleagues know if there are changes to your working pattern and updating and sharing your outlook calendar with them.


We have brought together some resources that you may find useful over this time. Further information is also available from the University's COVID 'Looking after dependants' Sharepoint site [ Raven login required ]


Free educational resources at the University of Cambridge for children

The following educational resources can support and compliment school-based learning. If you know of any free online learning resources that we have not included here, please email Gina Warren on

Fitzwilliam museum

#Fitzvirtual coming soon, virtual tours of the collections.

Zoology museum

Virtual tour of this amazing resource – can you name all the animals?

Cambridge Science Centre at home

COSMOS Online is a digital collection of all kinds of hands-on science activities you can do at home.

Cambridge University YouTube

Watch our research films. Including climate change, the world’s oldest modern bird and searching for a vaccine for COVID19.

Cambridge University Maths NRICH project

Home-learning how NRICH can help you.

Cambridge University library

Resources include:

- 800,000 ebooks

- Over 120,000 ejournal titles and 400 databases are available off-campus 


Other useful resources

UCL have have compiled a list of resources helpful to teachers, school leaders, parents/carers and young people

The government has released useful advice for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

For those caring for an elderly person, whether family member of other dependent, CarersUK have produced guidance and information to provide support

ParentKind has published a list of free online resources, as has Oak National Academy, which is collated by teachers.

BrainPop - animated videos on topics in maths, science and English

Tynker - coding lessons

Creative Bug - craft lessons, from knitting to jewellery-making, drawing and origami

YouTube's Free School - videos on subjects as diverse as the US constitution, coral reefs and the solar system