Most parents don’t want to send their children back to school when lockdown lifts, poll finds

Education secretary Gavin Williamson. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA

Education secretary Gavin Williamson. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA - Credit: PA

Most parents say they do not want to see their children return to school as soon as the government ends the lockdown, a poll suggests.

One in ten parents said they would only be happy to send their children back when staff and pupils had been vaccinated against Covid-19 - even if this took up to 18 months, the research showed.

A quarter (25%) of parents who took part in the Parentkind survey - which asked more than 250,000 people - said they would feel comfortable with a September return date if it was confirmed now, while 7% favoured July.

Just one in ten said they would be happy to send their child back to school as soon as lockdown ends.

A further 23% said they would only be content when the government says it is safe to return, while 18% said they would only be happy when school leaders and teachers said it was safe.

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Asked what their biggest concerns were as a parent about the pandemic, the top answers were their children not seeing their friends (48%) and missing out on learning from teachers (38%).

Schools, colleges and nurseries closed more than six weeks ago due to the coronavirus outbreak, remaining open only for vulnerable youngsters and the children of key workers.

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Boris Johnson promised to deliver a 'comprehensive plan' this week on how the UK lockdown may be eased and suggested that he would set out efforts to get children back to school.

Reports suggest primary schools are unlikely to re-open until the end of May, secondary schools at the end of June.

John Jolly, CEO of Parentkind, said: 'Parents are desperately seeking clarity and reassurance about schools reopening, what measures will be put in place to ensure their child's education doesn't suffer long-term, and how the mental health implications for young people will be addressed.

'The weight of our research and the strength of parent voice is a call to action for UK governments to listen to parents when it comes to reopening schools, phasing children back into classrooms, and minimising the disruption to home life and the education of children.'

Another poll by Mumsnet found that most parents would not send their children back to school as soon as they reopen - but 43% would send their children back once they open their doors.

The survey, of more than 1,000 users of the online parenting forum, also found that more one in five (22%) parents think schools should reopen now.

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