Three quarters of parents worry about coronavirus impact on children’s education, survey says
PUBLISHED: 08:01 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:12 31 March 2020
Three quarters of parents fear the coronavirus pandemic will effect their children’s education, a survey has suggested.
Falling behind or missing out on learning, cancelled exams and lack of socialisation were among the biggest concerns mothers and fathers currently have for their children, the research showed.
More than three quarters (77pc) who took part in the Parentkind questionnaire - which involved 691 parents of 1,181 pupils - said they felt the impact of the outbreak would affect their child’s education in some way, while almost a quarter (24pc) indicated serious concerns by selecting the highest number on a scale of one to 10.
Schools across the UK have been closed for just over a week, though some sites remain open to look after vulnerable children or those of key workers.
Headteachers around the country have issued messages of reassurance to parents struggling to work, look after their children and provide a home education.
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 (7pc) said they thought school closures could have a positive impact - citing increased family time and reconnecting with their children.
John Jolly, chief executive of Parentkind, said parents are enduring a “uniquely stressful period” where they attempt 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.”
It comes amid calls for parents to be financially compensated during the Covid-19 outbreak, with a new report saying childcare should be recognised as full-time work.
A paper by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) calls for the right to paid parental leave for those who need to look after children, under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The centre-left think tank said this would be in line with schemes in France, Italy and the US.
Clare McNeil, IPPR associate director for work and the welfare state, urged the government to go further with its financial support for parents.
She said: “Caring for children needs to be recognised for what it is - a full-time occupation.
“The government needs to give people who are unable or unwilling to work from home while caring for children the option of paid leave for the duration of this crisis, as other countries have done.
“And to prevent children in newly unemployed families from falling into poverty or hardship as a result of this crisis, the government must invest further in Universal Credit to make it a genuine safety net - not a tightrope over poverty.”
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