Majority of parents welcome the dropping of face masks in schools

20/01/22

Polling by parent voice charity Parentkind has found that a majority of parents in England are likely to support the government's announcement. The Prime Minister said that the current recommendation for secondary pupils to wear face coverings in classrooms is to be scrapped. A recent poll of 2,056 parents representing 3,998 primary and secondary school children found that almost two thirds (64%) of secondary parents disagree that pupils should wear face coverings in classrooms. But out of the 35% who agreed with the measure, many did so strongly. 

Although there was more support for face coverings in classrooms among primary parents (whose children are not recommended to wear them), it was still more than half (55%) who disagreed, leaving six in ten (60%) of parents disagreeing with their use in classrooms overall (versus 38% agreeing).

The poll found slightly less parental opposition to the use of face coverings for pupils in communal school areas, though more disagreed overall (56%) than agreed (41%) with their use. Again, secondary parents were more likely to oppose their use (61%) compared to primary (51%). 

Although Covid-19 safety measures in schools such as the use of face coverings tend to polarise parents, with most taking positions that either strongly agree or strongly disagree, parents are more united on their concern over the negative impact of the pandemic on their child's education. Almost four fifths (79%) say that they are concerned, with only one in five (20%) unconcerned, and similar proportions revealed across primary and secondary levels. 

Parentkind CEO John Jolly says, "What we're hearing from parents is that a majority would like their child's education to get back to some sort of pre-pandemic 'normal' as quickly as possible. Remote learning from home for months on end and cancelled exams have been some of the more drastic impacts upon young people's lives and education, but there have been many others too. Our recent research points to significant parental concerns about their children's mental health, and this has been exacerbated by all of the upheaval to schooling and family life. Face coverings are intended as a way to limit the spread of the virus and keep children in the classroom, but many parents will have made up their minds that, on balance, they would prefer their child's learning to continue without them. As the course of this pandemic has been unpredictable, we urge the government to keep a close eye on school attendance figures, and constantly revaluate the guidance for schools on keeping them Covid-safe. This should include regular consultation with parents, especially if the guidance is updated."

Research methodology

Parentkind’s poll on school safety measures: 2,056 parents in England answered on behalf of 3,998 children. 1807 responses were for a child at primary school level, and 2191 responses were for a child at secondary school level. The poll opened on Thursday 6th January and closed on Tuesday 11th January 2022. It was promoted online and shared through social media.

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