Face masks poll — May 2021

Latest polling finds strong parental support for removing masks and Covid testing from schools.

Key findings 

Seven in ten parents (70%) say they strongly agree that secondary pupils should no longer need to wear face-mask in classrooms, and 72% agree overall. The Parentkind poll was taken by over 2,000 parents and coincides with the government lifting some coronavirus restrictions in England this week. This includes removing the need for mandatory face-masks in secondary schools.

Although parents overwhelmingly support today’s development, the issue remains a divisive one, with almost a quarter (24%) strongly disagreeing with the removal of face-masks from classrooms, and 27% disagreeing overall. There was a similar split over the question of whether secondary school pupils should no longer need to wear face-masks in school communal areas. Two-thirds (67%) strongly agree with removing the need, and seven in ten (70%) agree overall. However, more than a quarter (26%) strongly disagree, and almost three in ten (29%) oppose removing face-masks from communal areas overall.

Finally, the majority of parents also want to see an end to the twice-weekly Covid testing of teachers, pupils and their families, with 59% strongly disagreeing that the tests should continue, and 64% disagreeing overall. On the other hand, 24% strongly agree, and 32% agree overall that the tests should say.

Our response 

Our Chief Executive John Jolly says:

We have heard a lot from government and teaching unions about the issue of face coverings in schools, but this is not a national debate with only two sides. Until now, parents have not had a say. It is important that, as a major education stakeholder and the one responsible for ensuring their child attends school equipped to meet the regulations, parent voice is not overlooked by policymakers. We put three straightforward questions to parents to gauge what they think, and the results are clear: the majority of parents strongly want schools to get back to normal’, and for their child to continue their education in the classroom in the way they enjoyed before the pandemic struck. This suggests that most parents now have confidence that schools are safe enough learning environments for their child. Nevertheless, these safety issues are divisive, with feelings running high on either side and virtually no middle ground. Our results show that there is a large minority of parents who do not yet feel ready to make today’s step back to normality’, and who have found reassurance in measures designed to stop the spread of the virus such as the use of face-masks in schools. Heads and teachers should listen to their concerns and seek to reassure all parents about the provisions in place to minimise the risk of transmission.”

Our methodology 

A short online survey, promoted to parents via social media, was active between 11th and 17th May 2021. 2,058 parents completed the survey. Please note percentages may not always add up to 100% due to rounding.

Download the results