58% of parents in England think the DfE has not done enough to reassure them about going back to school

One-third say they will withdraw their children from school if the infection rate starts to rise again

Parents are pretty evenly split when it comes to anxiety about sending their children back to school, with 46% describing themselves as ‘anxious’ and 52% describing themselves as ‘relaxed’, according to a new survey carried out by Mumsnet for ITV News. Just 8% say they are considering not sending their children back to school at all.

However, 58% of parents in England say the Department for Education has not done enough to reassure them about sending children back to school. These feelings are more pronounced among parents of young people who will be taking GCSEs and A Levels next summer: 71% of parents of children in Years 11 or 13 say the English or Welsh government has not done enough to reassure them.

Parents are evenly split over whether they would pull their children out of schooI if the infection rate starts to rise again, with 33% saying they would. 34% say they wouldn’t and 33% say they’re not sure.

Parents' worries

The survey of 726 parents of children at school in England and Wales shows why some parents are more worried than others. Among those who say they are anxious about the return to school, the top worries are:

  • Worry that their own child might become ill (54%)
  • Worry that a family member might contract COVID from their child (53%)
  • Worry about the health of teachers and school staff (52%)
  • Family members having a health concern that makes them particularly vulnerable to COVID (41%)
  • Worry that their school isn’t safe enough when it comes to infection control (38%)
  • Worry about the national infection rate (37%)

Parents of older children worry more about the likelihood of older family members contracting the virus from children or grandchildren. 51% of anxious secondary parents say they have a family member with a health condition that makes them particularly vulnerable to COVID, compared to 37% of anxious primary school parents.

Older family members

Parents of older children worry more about the likelihood of older family members contracting the virus from children or grandchildren. 51% of anxious secondary parents say they have a family member with a health condition that makes them particularly vulnerable to COVID, compared to 37% of anxious primary school parents.

Mumsnet Founder Justine Roberts said: “Most parents are glad that children are returning to school but they also don’t feel that the Government has done enough to address their inevitable concerns about safety and infection control and many say they’ll remove their children from school if the infection rate rises again. Not surprisingly parents of older children are the most concerned: those facing public exams at the end of this school year face considerable uncertainty and disruption and could do with some more clarity over when the exams will take place and what the content will be.”

Survey of 726 parents of school children in England and Wales, carried out between August 28 and September 1 2020. The data is not weighted.

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