Coronavirus: Most parents 'fear education will suffer'

Parents are worried about loss of learning, cancelled exams and lack of socialising for their children, poll shows

Tes Reporter

Coronavirus: Parents are concerned about children falling behind on their learning, a poll shows

Most parents fear the coronavirus pandemic will have an effect on their child's education, a survey suggests.

Falling behind or missing out on learning, cancelled exams and lack of socialisation were among the biggest concerns mothers and fathers voiced for their children in the survey.

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More than three-quarters – 77 per cent – who took part in the Parentkind questionnaire said they felt the outbreak would affect their child's education in some way, while almost a quarter – 24 per cent – indicated serious concerns by selecting the highest number on a scale of 1-10.

The impact of coronavirus on families

Schools across the UK have been closed for over a week, with some sites remaining open only to look after the children of key workers considered essential in the fight against Covid-19.

Parentkind, which supports the school closures, said parents also had concerns for themselves, including their ability to meet work commitments, financial implications and the effect on their mental health and stress levels.

But a small number of parents (7 per cent) said they thought school closures could have a positive impact – citing increased family time and reconnecting with their children.

Less than one in five parents (19 per cent) felt very confident to support their child’s learning at home. Another 43 per cent were quite confident. Almost a quarter (22 per cent) were neither confident nor unconfident and 15 per cent not at all confident.

John Jolly, chief executive of Parentkind, said parents were enduring a "uniquely stressful period" when they were attempting to balance caring for their children at home with work life.

He said: "These are exceptional times, with the necessary measures to slow the spread of a potentially deadly virus raising for many parents fundamental questions about family life and how they can best support their child's learning from home.

"Parents are fearful of the long-term impact school closures will have on their child's attainment and socialisation, and they are juggling these worries with their own very real issues of meeting work commitments and paying the bills, without the support of grandparents and others to draw on during this uniquely stressful period.

"Policymakers, teachers and parents are united in wanting the best possible outcomes for children, and Parentkind will work with everyone to ensure parents feel equipped to adapt to their new circumstances, however long they last."

Between March 18 and March 23, 691 parents, representing 1,181 pupils, completed the survey. Most respondents were based in England, with a small number in Wales and Northern Ireland.

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