15 September 2020
The final report from the Back to School study reveals the concerns of young people, families and school staff returning to school after the closures as part of the UK’s coronavirus response. The report presents rapid analysis of data from interviews with 13 school staff from seven schools and 20 families from eight schools, conducted between 15 July and 4 September 2020.
To understand how schools can give young people, parents and teachers the best support, the Back to School study examined the views of young people, parents, carers and school staff about returning to school after the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, including views on measures to reduce infection risk.
The main findings were:
Interview participants suggested a number of ways to improve the return to school. These included schools taking a supportive approach to reopening, considering the anticipated emotional impact on young people of returning to school and possible future lockdown.
There was also the need for clear, nuanced, timely guidance for schools, focusing on PPE, exams, local lockdowns, young peoples’ wellbeing, supporting SEN and catch-up teaching. Families wanted clear, consistent messaging and reminders to young people on new risk reduction measures emphasising the ’collective good’, and well-thought-out enforcement of new rules.
Families also wanted more clarity on the symptoms of COVID-19, clear and easy methods for reporting, and sensitive school responses to positive tests. In addition, extra funding was also suggested for catch-up tutoring, emotional support, supplies and equipment for learning and hygiene and additional staff and space.