Schools survey - Two thirds say children should return in September, not June

PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:27 20 May 2020

Most people in our survey thought children should not be going back to school in June. Picture: PA Photo/JupiterImages Corporation.

Most people in our survey thought children should not be going back to school in June. Picture: PA Photo/JupiterImages Corporation.

Nearly two thirds of people taking part in our Suffolk school survey want children to go back to class in September - and not at the start of June.

A total of 64% thought youngsters should not go back until the autumn term, while just over 19% said pupils should not return until a vaccine is in place.

Just 14.3% of respondents supported moves for children to return in June, with 2.5% opting for July.

The government’s current policy is for schools to start the phased return from June 1 at the earliest.

Ipswich mum Rachael Lovitt commented: “Don’t understand how they can return to school and be amongst strangers, but cannot spend time in a garden or house with social distancing of family members.”

Another parent from Ipswich said: “Primary school kids have no concept of social distancing. My five and seven-year-old would not understand this in practice. My kids are not going to die from missing a few months of schooling but their teachers could die from it. My kids will catch up. Don’t use my kids as a herd immunity.”

And another commented: “The government should absolutely not seek to open schools in England before there is certainty about the levels of risk. This is clearly a economic decision and is not in the teachers’ or pupils’ interest.”

A teacher from Colchester said: “Staff and students should only return when they personally feel safe and comfortable to do so. Too many will be affected in the second wave of infection and no child or staff should be forced to return.”

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However, a teacher from Ipswich, who is also a parent, supported the return, commenting: “Schools have done their best but home schooling is challenging for a lot of families and the risk remains low for children. Children need to be in school and we need to gradually start to get out there, return to work to find some kind of normality that comes so that we can live with this virus in the population.”

READ MORE: MP discusses headteachers’ concerns over reopening of schools

And a parent from Kesgrave said: “I think schools should be reopened as soon as possible but attendance not compulsory, so parents that are worried can keep their children home. It is especially important for students in years 10 and 12 to be allowed to return as soon as possible.”

Another question in the survey asked how difficult home-schooling has been, on a scale of one to five, for both parents and children.

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Results here were fairly evenly split. Just under 36% chose the middle option, 3, with 17% going for 1 and 21% for 2. However, some said they had found it very difficult, with 17% choosing 4 and just 9% opting for 5, the top of the scale.

Lucy Collier, from Bury St Edmunds, commented: “It has been a mixture of emotions for my family. Trying to manage working, teaching my four-year-old something productive and looking after a toddler has been interesting.

“My four-year-old is missing his school friends, missing socialisation, and cannot understand what is going on.”

Ipswich mum Nicola Sawyer, though, said: “My four boys have never been happier home schooling and it is something we are considering continuing going forward.”

In answer to whether universities should admit first-year students who had not sat their exams, an overwhelming 73% said yes, with just over 26% saying no.

READ MORE: Schools and nurseries preparing for more children in June

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