NEW survey results reveal that 69% of parents aren’t confident that schools fully reopening in March will be safe for their family, with more than half (53%) saying they are ‘not at all confident’.

The survey was carried out by Parentkind, the national parental participation in education charity, to understand what parents want when it comes to their child returning to school.

The poll also found that, when asked about positives for parents coming out of their child’s remote learning from home during lockdown, almost two thirds (64%) of parents said that they are more aware of what their child is learning. A third (34%) appreciated having alternative options to engage with their child’s teacher such as through virtual parents’ evenings.

As part of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, secondary pupils will be given two Covid-19 lateral flow tests per week to use at home, after initial tests at school. Parentkind research carried out in January** reveals that nearly half (49%) of parents agree they would feel reassured that introducing testing will make it safer for their child to attend school, though over a third (37%) disagree.

John Jolly, Parentkind’s CEO, says, “Since lockdowns and remote learning began, Parentkind has supported every parent’s right to decide when it is safe for their child to return to school.

“The majority of parents are telling us that they lack confidence that schools will be safe for their family if they fully reopen in March. Although parents are finding positives in having their child remote learning at home, many will still be keen for them to return to the classroom.

“Families are feeling the burden of juggling jobs with supporting their child’s learning, but safety is their primary concern. While there remains some way to go to reassure parents, our evidence suggests that providing regular Covid-19 tests to secondary pupils will go some way to putting their minds at rest.

“However, lateral flow tests can be complicated to administer. The government needs to be clear about whether or not the tests are to be mandatory, if test results will be monitored and what support it will give all parents to ensure they have the confidence and knowledge to carry out or oversee tests.

“The Welsh Government and the Department for Education ion England should invite feedback from parents to ensure the tests are helping in the fight against Covid-19. Parentkind fully supports parent voice and calls on government to address parental concerns by clarifying how all safety measures, including social distancing, will be enforced in schools, and what action will be taken where there are localised outbreaks of the virus.”