Parents can have their say on impact of school closures on families as part of major new research

The survey will help to show the wellbeing of parents, guardians, children and teachers in lockdown

Parents can have their say on how their families are coping with the upheaval of school closures as part of a major new research project set up to track the impact of coronavirus.

A new survey allows people around the country to share their experiences and concerns, as well as ideas for how they could be better supported.

Researchers from the University of Exeter, who are leading the project, will rapidly analyse replies so they can report findings to Government and policymakers. They are concerned about the likely disproportionate impact on vulnerable children and disadvantaged families of school closures, and hope early findings will allow support to be arranged before the situation becomes worse.

The survey will paint a picture of the current wellbeing of parents, guardians, children and teachers. Teachers and pupils over the age of 16 can take part and researchers are keen to hear from staff working in admissions and outreach at universities and colleges

Professor Anna Mountford-Zimdars, Academic Director of the University of Exeter’s Centre for Social Mobility, said: “What we want to do is toamplify the voice of parents and teachers. They can tell us about the support they are getting, what they are doing at home, and the support they think they should have. The questions give us a picture of what’s happening for children since schools shut, how families are coping, and most importantly what would help them.

“This survey only takes up to 15 minutes to complete, but it will help us communicate to policymakers and others the views of parents and guardians, and we hope this might then lead to extra support which may make their life easier.

“Our concern is schools being closed has a disproportionate impact on children from disadvantaged homes. By asking people early on about the current situation our findings may lead to changes before inequalities take a firm grip.”

The survey collects information about the type of school or college children are studying in, whether they qualify for free school meals and if they have special educational needs. It asks if children have access to the internet, space to work and how many books they have.

Parents and guardians can give detail about what support they are getting from schools and elsewhere while their child is learning at home. They can also explain if they are clear about what they currently are supposed to be doing with their child.

Those filling in the survey, which has been approved by the University of Exeter’s Ethics Committee, are asked about how much they are in contact with other parents, their biggest concern regarding schools being shut, and what would make their life easier. It also asks how involved they feel in their children’s education and how this has changed.

The research team expect to be able to start reporting findings next month.

Complete the survey at: https://universityofexeter.researchfeedback.net/s.asp?k=158532671971

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