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Education Resources Covid-19 surveys

Primary pupils

In total, 1486 P4-7 pupils completed the survey, representing approximately 6% of pupils attending South Lanarkshire Council mainstream primary schools.

The survey was designed specifically to be accessible for and gather the views of children in this age group. However, to ensure maximum access and reach, the survey instructions noted that the children may need parents’/carers’ support to complete the survey.

Pupils were asked rating scale questions about their experiences, thoughts and feelings. Pupils were also asked open questions designed to gather more individualised and nuanced opinions and viewpoints. Emerging themes were identified and the most common are presented.

Part 1

How you feel about how things have been in the lockdown?

Pupils were asked to rate their feelings about the changes they experienced during lockdown. The graphs below illustrate pupils’ feelings about changes to their relationships and their routine.

3% felt positive about not being with friends. 21% were neutral and 76% found it hard not being with friends. 10% felt positive about not being with other pupils. 45% felt neutral and 45% found it hard. 84% felt positive about being at home with family. 12% were neutral and 4% found it hard. 2% felt positive about not being with other family members who don't live with them, 18% were neutral and 80% found it hard. 70% felt positive about using social media, gaming or video calls to keep in touch with friends. 20%were neutral and 10% found it hard. 66% felt positive about using social media, gaming or video calls to keep in touch with family. 23% were neutral and 12% found it hard.
23% felt positive about doing things differently. 38% felt neutral and 39% found it hard. 25% felt positive about learning at home. 27% were neutral and 48% found it hard. 13% felt positive about not having enough to do. 37% were neutral and 50% found it hard. 17% felt positive about staying in the house most of the time. 24% were neutral and 59% found it hard.




Please tell us about any other positive changes that you may have experienced during this time

Emerging themes were:

  • spending time with my family and pet(s)
  • being more active, getting outside and getting exercise
  • having a more relaxed routine
  • doing practical activities such as baking, cooking, helping around the house/garden/farm
  • socialising with friends/family and with clubs, for example on the phone/online
  • I have more time for online gaming/more screen time
  • home schooling/online learning
  • I have more time to play for example family/board games
  • learning at my own pace
  • learning new hobbies, activities and life skills

Example comments:

"I have enjoyed my mum and dad teaching me and making lots of adventures in our house. I slept in a den that I made with my sleeping bag and headtorch. We camped out the back, cooking on a woodfire. We baked, made obstacle courses, played golf in the back garden. It has been fun."

"Getting to lounge around the house, long lies and more time on my gaming console."

"1) I get to see my immediate family more. 2) Zoom calls with my cousins, more than I'd have seen them before lockdown, playing games and reading stories. 3) playing more games as a family and more movie nights and girls/boys nights. 4) learning new skills at Brownies, via Zoom, and more time to work on badges and awards too. 5) more time in the garden with my family doing gardening."

"Doing Google Classroom, doing Zoom classes with my Tai Kwon Do club, getting out on my bike more and doing Joe Wicks every morning."

Please tell us about any other more difficult changes that you may have experienced during this time

Emerging themes were:

  • I am missing my friends
  • I am missing my family
  • I am finding home-school and schoolwork difficult
  • I am missing my clubs/activities/hobbies
  • I am missing my teacher(s)/getting help from my teacher(s)
  • feeling bored/having nothing to do
  • the change in my routine

Example comments:

"Getting motivated to do schoolwork. Sticking to a routine. Missing going places. Missing seeing my grandparents and my brothers."

"It’s boring not being at school!!"

"Some annoying and sad things are not getting to see the rest of my family, not getting to see my friends, missing out on exciting things that p7’s get to do, missing gala day and missing our summer holidays."

"Miss gymnastics and dancing."

"Hard not seeing my friends or family physically. Not being able to play sports or watch them live or going to matches. My summer holiday to visit family has been cancelled and that was disappointing. Trying to do my work at home and sometimes it was hard to do without my teacher."

Part 2

How you feel about not being at school and about coming back to school

Pupils were asked to rate how they felt about their school being closed (in June), and to compare this to how they felt when schools first closed in March. They were also asked what had helped them during this time, and about their feelings about coming back to school.

13% weren't worried at all. 21% were not so worried. 33% were neutral. 25% were quite worried and 8% were very worried.


13% felt a lot better. 31% felt a little better. 27% felt the same. 20% felt a little worse and 9% felt a lot worse.


Is there anything you would like to say about your feelings about school being closed?

Emerging themes were:

  • I am missing my friends
  • I am missing school/school activities
  • I feel sad
  • I am missing my teacher(s)
  • missing out on summer trips, celebrations/transitions
  • I want schools to reopen
  • I feel happy/I prefer to be at home
  • I feel worried for example about Covid 19, what school will be like and that I have fallen behind
  • I understand the reasons for closures/being kept safe
  • I feel OK
  • I feel angry/frustrated
  • I feel bored
  • I feel mixed emotions

Example comments:

"I really miss it, it’s not the same being at home and it makes me sad that I can’t go back."

"Wanted to go back before summer and got upset that I couldn’t. I’ve had the same teacher for the last two years and I got upset that I won’t be able to say goodbye or give her a gift."

"Love home schooling as I love being with my family and spending more time with my Mum, big sister and my little brother. X"

"Sad. I want to see all my friends. Missing the teacher. Wanted to do swimming lessons and sports day, and all the other fun things."

"I am a bit worried about the school being closed because it shows how bad Covid 19 is but I’m glad to hear school is opening again soon."

What has helped you while your school has been closed? This might be anything that has helped you do schoolwork, or maybe something you have learned or done by yourself.

Emerging themes were:

  • spending time with my family and pet(s)
  • contact with my teacher(s)
  • speaking to/playing with my friends online
  • doing schoolwork
  • learning new skills such as languages, riding a bike, cooking/baking, and sewing
  • exercising for example walking, running, and cycling
  • playing video games
  • leisure activities such as reading, listening to music, and watching films

Example comments:

"Teachers have kept in daily contact through Teams and it has helped me keep on track."

"Being able to keep in touch with my friends, so I'm really glad I have my phone. I'm more confident using technology to do schoolwork now and I'm enjoying using a laptop."

"My family has helped me through these tough times, and I am grateful for Google Classroom."

"My mum and the Internet. I've learned how to play swing ball properly. I've learnt more about caring for my pets."

How do you feel about coming back to school?

Pupils indicated their feelings about returning to school by choosing from a list of feelings provided. The five most commonly chosen feelings were excited, happy, nervous, relieved and worried. This word cloud represents the frequency of 12 chosen feelings.

These feelings were rated from most felt to least.  Excited. Happy. Nervous. Relieved. Worried. Grateful. Motivated. Confused. Frightened. Sad. Annoyed. Disappointed.

What other feelings do you have about coming back to school?

Emerging themes were:

  • I want to see my friends
  • I am worried about being separated from friends
  • I am scared
  • I am worried because I am changing school
  • I am anxious
  • I am worried about social distancing
  • not sure
  • I have mixed feelings

Example comments

"A bit nervous as I’m going to high school. I am really sad that my class didn’t get a chance to be in school to meet up before high school. I am excited to visit my new high school on Monday."

"Can’t wait to go back and a bit nervous that I’ve forgotten some things I’ve learned about. A bit worried if I can’t play with my friends or hug them."

"I am grateful that things are now getting back to normal."

"I feel ecstatic because I get to see my teacher and friends."

Part 3

How can we help you when you go back to school?

Pupils were asked five open questions to gather their views about what would be helpful for them when returning to school.

What can we do to help make coming back to school as easy as possible?

Emerging themes were:

  • put me in groups/classes with my friends
  • provide detailed information about what will happen when we return
  • ensure health and safety for example providing soap, rules about social distancing and wearing masks
  • get back to normal
  • having realistic expectations regarding our learning and reduce the pressure for example don’t rush and start where we left off
  • provide contact with my new teacher
  • allow us to be with friends without social distancing
  • have a part time/staged return
  • be welcoming and reassuring
  • give me the same class and teacher as last year

Example comments:

"Hand wash area. Wear masks. Would like to be with my friends."

"You could communicate frequently even if there are no updates just so we know that we are getting thought about."

"Be normal with us and don't seem worried as it's hard enough for us as it is."

"I would like to be in a smaller group in the morning or afternoon. A social distanced welcome back party would be good. I would like to be with some friends if we're in small groups in the morning or afternoon."

"Previous teacher to welcome us and settle ya for a few days/weeks before moving onto next class. Tell us what’s happening. Clear visual instructions as to what we need to do. Be honest with us, tell us you’re scared too, it might help us feel better."

"Ease things in gently. Some online home learning is quite tricky."

What could we do to help make you happy when you come back to school?

Emerging themes were:

  • let me be with my friends
  • let pupils have fun and be active
  • provide detailed information
  • provide someone to talk to/support me
  • make it normal/get back to normal
  • keep me safe
  • I am happy
  • provide face-to-face teaching
  • allow a slow start
  • get back to fulltime school
  • don’t go on about it
  • nothing

Example comments:

"Things that might help my wellbeing could be doing activities like meditation or some sort of fun exercise or just knowing that I’m able to talk to someone."

"Outside playing time with friends to catch up with things and to feel more comfortable."

"Give lots of support."

"Ease me back in gently, not straight back to full on work!"

"Nothing. I am happy."

How can we help you to do the best you can to catch up with your schoolwork?

Emerging themes were:

  • revise the work given during lockdown
  • I am caught up
  • provide interaction with my teacher
  • be understanding and supportive
  • make extra time for school
  • get us back into school
  • have realistic expectations
  • provide extra resources
  • find out where we are with learning
  • continuity with last year for example start from the stage we left at; and have the same teacher as before
  • focus on the basics

Example comments:

"I don’t feel I need much catching up as I have gone on Google Classroom every day and done most of my work. Well my mum makes me do my literacy, numeracy and one other curricular area at least, once a day."

"I think that as I said before we should do lots of revision when we come back so there won't be too much pressure on the people that didn't do the work or could not do it."

"I want to be with a teacher that is kind, explains things well and takes questions whenever we put our hand up."

"Take it slowly, not too much pressure at the start."

"Get us back to school soon."

What would be helpful for you to know before you go back to school?

Emerging themes were:

  • about the classroom arrangements for example layout of classrooms; my new teachers and classmates
  • what my school day will be like
  • about any new rules/changes
  • about school health and safety
  • about socialising with friends, for example social distancing, playing outside and working with partners
  • what learning will be like, for example schoolwork, activities, PE/swimming
  • what equipment do I need to bring into school, for example soap/sanitiser, stationery, water bottle, lunch

Example comments:

"Who my teacher is and that some of my friends will be in my class? That I will be safe at school, and what the changes to our classroom will be and what it will look like, and the new school rules."

"How my classroom is going to be set up. How are playtimes and lunch times going to work. Will breakfast club be on? Will after school clubs resume?"

"What changes there are going to be from the start of my day to the end of my day. A poster to remind me in class. What I can do if I feel worried or need to talk to someone."

"I would like to know the name of my P1 Buddy. How will schoolwork? How many days will I be in? Will I be in on the same days as my friends?"

"How we are going to social distance? Should we wear masks? Do we need to bring hand sanitiser? How long will we be in school for, like will we be in for half a day or a full day?"

What would be helpful for you to have on your first day back at school?

Emerging themes were:

  • seeing my teachers and friends
  • an easy day, for example fun, play time, time to chat
  • clear rules such as display signs and instructions, tell us the dos and don’ts
  • safety equipment such as soap, hand gel, masks, tissues, gloves
  • school equipment and supplies
  • a member of my family there for example my sibling also at school, parents for part of the day
  • a feeling of safety and comfort
  • a feeling of normality
  • support and understanding

Example comments:

"Mindfulness work and talking about how I have been coping during everything."

"A full guide of rules, school and its set up, what class we are going to be in, who is going to be our teachers."

"Time to chat with friends and my teacher."

"It would be helpful to get our first day as a settling in day and also a question and answer day as we have all changed over lockdown."

"For me and my little sister to go to school together on the same days."

"Enough soap and hand sanitiser to go around the whole school."

"A party to celebrate being back together."


For most respondents, a positive aspect of lockdown was being at home with the family they live with. The most commonly reported difficult aspects of lockdown were not being able to see friends and extended family.

A third of respondents reported that they were quite worried or very worried about schools being closed. 29% reported feeling a little or a lot worse in June than they had felt when schools closed in March.

48% reported that learning at home was hard or very hard, and 25% reported that learning at home was a little positive or very positive.

Taken together, the most common themes identified as being helpful for a successful return to school were related to:

  • information about what to expect when they return to school
  • reconnection with school staff and friends
  • a nurturing approach and focus on wellbeing, for example staff being welcoming and understanding, and supporting transitions
  • clear health and safety guidance, rules and equipment
  • having a slow start and fun on the first day
  • teachers having realistic expectations about learning
  • a sense of normality

What schools will do

  • We will continue to give pupils a warm welcome to school so they feel safe and included
  • We will continue to give pupils information about what to do and what any new changes will look like
  • We will help pupils with their learning and make sure they feel happy to be back in school