Families with Young Children Can’t Cope with Covid-19 Second Wave

30 July 2020

A second Coronavirus lockdown would have a devastating impact on families of young children who are already feeling the strain of home schooling and childcare on top of the demands of work, Education Law experts have warned.

According to a survey commissioned by law firm Simpson Millar, 34% (200) of parents and carers who have a child in primary school said home learning has had a negative impact on their child’s mental health and wellbeing.

In addition, a worrying 38% said their child’s mood had been negatively affected, and almost half (45%) said that their own mental health had been impacted by being at home with their child for the sustained period.  

Of those parents surveyed who currently work, 25% said they had considered quitting or reducing work hours because of childcare issues, with 65% saying they had no alternative childcare options during the height of the pandemic.

Of those who have been home schooling, 15% of parents and carers surveyed said their child/children’s primary school had not done enough to support their education needs, and 23% (135) said they had only partly done enough.

Solicitor Imogen Jolley who heads up the Education Law team at Simpson Millar which commissioned the report said, “When lockdown was announced the circumstances were unprecedented, and the UK as a whole needed to adapt quickly to a very different way of life.

“However, as the findings of the survey show, many families have struggled with the challenges presented by the pandemic and the reality of home schooling while trying to work. A particular concern for those with primary school aged children who need a lot more supervision and support.

“A second wave and a further lockdown would clearly have a devastating impact on the mental wellbeing of these families, let alone the educational wellbeing of the children with many reporting that they have not had enough support from the schools.

“It’s now absolutely imperative that HM Government publish a Plan B for what would happen if schools cannot open for all children in September, that takes into consideration the need for social interaction and one-to-one contact, not just the delivery of a recorded curriculum, so that we don’t see a further decline.

Imogen added, “The parents we speak to are deeply concerned and looking for some reassurance.”

Key Statistics

Of the 1001 respondents to the survey, 45% (453) respondents said their mental health had been impacted by being at home with children/a child during lockdown.

Of 871 working parents or carers, 206 (31%) said they had alternative childcare, with 605 (69%) saying they did not. 216 (25%) said they had considered reducing their working hours or giving up work because of childcare issues.

580 respondents had children in primary school.

34% (200) said home learning has had a negative mental impact on their child/children.

86 (15%) parents and carers said their child/children’s school had NOT done enough to support their education needs, and 23% (135) said they had only partly done enough.

A total of 34% (200) respondents with children of primary school age said that home learning has had a negative mental impact on their child/children. This figure rose to 50% (55 out of 110) in the North West.

This data was independently collated by Trinity McQueen an independent market research company. Trinity McQueen on behalf of Simpson Millar carried out a survey of 1,001 parents across the UK between 04/06/20 and 19/06/20.

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