The Impact of Coronavirus on Children and Families – Survey Results

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Simpson Millar decided to look at the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on children and families across the UK by carrying out some research*.

We surveyed 1,000 parents about the impact of the Coronavirus on their family and themselves, and we found that these were some of the key issues:

  • Impact on Mental Health
  • Impact on Physical Health
  • Impact on children with an EHCP
  • Impact on those due to sit GCSEs or A Levels

Let's look at these issues in more detail.

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Protecting our Children through Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Impact on Mental Health

The data from our survey showed us that the Coronavirus pandemic and its consequences such as lockdown and school closures had a negative impact on both children and adults mental health. It showed that:

  • 34% of parents with school age children (primary and secondary) felt that home learning had a negative mental impact on their children
  • More than half of parents with a child with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) felt that their child had lost support because of Coronavirus

Our Education Law Solicitors are expecting an increase in anxiety levels for pupils returning to school after such a long time away, and this could manifest as an increase in behavioural incidents.

In addition, children with an EHCP will have lost some of their support services which could impact their mental health. This could result in difficulties in reintegrating into formal learning.

They consider that it would be counterproductive to focus only on any behavioural difficulties children face when they return to school.

Not only was there a negative impact on the mental health of children in lockdown, 53% of adults said that their mental health had been affected because of the challenges of balancing home working, home schooling and childcare.

Impact on Physical Health

There are some very clear indicators that activity levels have decreased in the children because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • 50% of parents said that their children’s activity levels had decreased during lockdown
  • 30% said that their children were eating less healthily during lockdown

When you look at this in more detail, parents said that the main reason for this was that it wasn’t easy to get to the supermarket during lockdown. Being unable to afford fresh fruit and vegetables was another reason given, along with the lack of school dinners.

Impact on Children with an EHCP

It’s important to acknowledge the challenges that families with children with an EHCP have faced during lockdown.

  • 44% have struggled to get support from the Local Authority during lockdown
  • 55% have seen a reduction in support through the pandemic

These services are invaluable to the families and children, with social groups and activities and respite care being the most commonly missed support.

The Coronavirus Law temporarily reduced the responsibility of the Local Authority to provide services for children with EHCP, but if you want to talk to one of Education Law Solicitors about your circumstances, please do get in touch.

Impact on Children Due to Sit A Levels or GCSEs

Many parents are still confused about how grades will be awarded to their children who were due to sit either GSCEs or A Levels in 2020. More than a quarter were not clear about how this would work.

  • 34% of parents had concerns that their child would not be graded fairly as a result of the changes
  • 70% felt that this would have a long term impact on their future

We’re closely monitoring the situation with grading and we’ll comment further once the results have been issued in August.

*Research was commissioned by Simpson Millar and data was independently collected by Trinity McQueen, an independent Market Research Company. The online survey of 1,000 parents across the UK was carried out between 4 June 2020 and 19 June 2020.

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