Seventy per cent of parents believe school is going well for their child, despite the problems created by the coronavirus pandemic, a survey shows.
However, there is widespread concern among parents that chunks of the normal school experience are missing or being diminished, including practical subjects such as art, drama, music and PE. Poor engagement with parents during the pandemic was also raised as a concern in the survey.
The Back at School Survey Report, November 2020, by Connect, a national parents' organisation in Scotland, drew 572 responses from 29 of the country's local authorities.
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The report shows that:
- 70 per cent of parents feel that school is going well for their child, but 30 per cent do not feel as positive as before the pandemic.
- The most commonly cited change to school/nursery life being experienced by children (mentioned by 78 per cent of survey respondents) was an absence of activities such as assembly, drama and singing. The same proportion cited outdoor PE.
- Nearly 40 per cent of respondents thought that communications from school to home could be improved or were poor.
- Parents' confidence in their child’s learning appears very mixed. Some 66 per cent of parents had not been asked about their child’s learning in lockdown, while 56 per cent said they had not had information about blended learning (school work at home), in the event of another lockdown or for periods of self-isolation.
Eileen Prior, executive director of Connect, said: "Our Back at School parent/carer survey tells us that most children are happy to be back at school, which is good news. However, some problem-solving work needs to be done on reintroducing practical subjects and activities that children and young people are really missing such as art, more PE, music, drama.
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"These, as well as hot meals and specialist support for children who need it, should be prioritised for the sake of children's mental health, wellbeing and learning.
"Our survey suggests parental confidence in their children's learning is not strong. This seems to be because of a lack of communication about learning from schools/nurseries. If parental engagement in children's learning and school lives – a key driver in children's outcomes – is on the backburner, this will impact children negatively.
"We're calling for parental engagement and better communication with parents to be a priority, now and into the future."