How safe is school? UK parents & pupils share their thoughts

16th September 2020


Whether children would return to school this September was very hit and miss for a while, however now they have, we wanted to find out your opinions on how the last week has been and whether you and your children are comfortable with the measures schools have put in place.

Surveying more than 2000 parents across the country, we have discovered that more than two fifths (44%) feel that schools do not have enough safety precautions in place to protect their children from COVID-19, with almost a third (29%) confirming that your child doesn’t feel safe either.

Discussing this further we found that the majority (73%) are worried about their child contracting the virus when at school, however 30% aren’t concerned for their child’s own health, but the possible spread of infection to more vulnerable members of their family.

Of the parents who are not worried about their child catching the virus at school, half (50%) stated it is because they believe children are ‘practically immune’ to COVID-19.

In the poll we also asked you about your children’s school’s response to going back and the COVID-19 safety precautions they’ve introduced. Results show that almost half of parents (49%) are happy with the measures in place, whereas two fifths (42%) don’t believe there are enough precautions to keep students safe and one in ten (12%) feel there are too many measures, to the point that it’s affecting children’s learning.

Of the safety protocols in place, it was evident that the introduction of year group bubbles and the use of facemasks at all times were the top safety measures parents do not agree with, as both precautions were the most commonly selected measures - each received 43% of votes.

The full list of common safety measures in UK schools and the percentage of parents who do not agree with them are as follows:
 

·         Year group bubbles – 43%

·         Facemasks must be worn at all times – 43%

·         Limited extra-curricular/after school activities – 29%

·         Facemasks must be worn in common areas but not classrooms – 27%

·         Social distancing required in classrooms – 27%

·         Staggered start/end times – 26%

·         Classroom/form bubbles – 25%

·         Staggered break and lunch times – 22%

·         Hand sanitiser stations in all rooms/spaces – 21%

·         Designated break/lunch areas for each bubble group – 20%

·         Social distancing required in communal areas – 19%

·         Designated arrival areas for each bubble group – 17%

·         Increased spacing between desks – 16%

·         Enhanced cleaning schedules – 15%

·         No cash taken in canteen – 15%

·         School meals are required to be pre-ordered – 14%

 

After finding out your thoughts we wanted to discover how children feel about returning to school. It was saddening to hear that almost a third (30%) of parents confirmed their children currently feel unsafe at school, with a further 30% sharing that their child is anxious about going to school as a result.

However thankfully nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents did verify that their child is happy to be back at school with their friends and one in five (21%) confirmed that their children are happy with the precautions their school has in place.

Of the one in twenty (5%) who haven’t sent their child back to school this term, a fifth (20%) have shared that they will continue home-schooling on a permanent basis, whereas nearly half (42%) confirmed that they will continue home-schooling until their child’s been vaccinated.

Richard Conway, founder of Childcare.co.uk, said,

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is not behind us yet and as anticipated, infection cases are on the rise again. Naturally, it’s up for debate whether the increase is due to the return of school settings across the nation, or if there are other factors at play. Regardless, a week on since students returned to schools, we wanted to discover how parents, and children, feel about it.

“The results were very insightful, as it’s evident that whether parents feel like it was right or wrong to send their kids back, the majority are still worried about their children contracting the virus when at school. It was saddening to discover that this worry is common among pupils too, as a child should never feel anxious about going to school. With a second lockdown potentially on the horizon it will be interesting to see how schools react to increased cases and whether they will act independently on deciding to remain open, or whether the government will act nationwide to limit the spread in our education institutes.”

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