Launch Recite Me assistive technology myaccountMyAccount login image

Education Resources Covid-19 surveys


In total, 5799 parents/carers took part in the survey.

Respondents were asked rating scale questions about their child’s experience of lockdown and their own thoughts and feelings about their child returning to school in August 2020. The results are presented below in chart format. Respondents were also asked open questions designed to gather more individualised and nuanced opinions and viewpoints. Emerging themes were identified from a sample 1120 surveys (representing 19.3% of those responding). The most common themes are presented.  

Part 1

About your child’s experience of lockdown

Respondents were asked about their views regarding the changes their child experienced during lockdown. The chart below illustrates the views of parents/carer views.

3% found the changes very positive and 20% positive. 39% were neutral. 32% found them difficult. 6% found them very difficult.


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

Emerging themes were:

  • having quality family time together/bonding as a family
  • getting individual support from family with schoolwork
  • engaging in a range of activities such as new hobbies and outdoor activities
  • enjoying home learning
  • feeling relaxed and safe - more relaxed routine, avoiding negative situations/people and safety from Covid-19
  • experiencing personal growth and development such as progress in learning, developing skills and showing resilience

Example comments:

"It has allowed more family bonding and has made us appreciate how hard he can work and has probably changed us as a family. We will now play Scrabble as is beneficial to education instead of sticking a video game on!"

"Enjoyed more relaxed household, no rat race running around, benefited from 1:1 teaching."

"I feel it has/will definitely make them more resilient. They have embraced online learning and most days they complete easily and willingly. They have also been more inventive about ways of making contact with friends and families."

"Positive family connections, feeling safe and less anxious whilst being at home."

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

Emerging themes were:

  • adjusting to home learning for example motivation/engagement in schoolwork, less support from teacher, and concerns about falling behind/exam arrangements
  • missing friends
  • changes to normal routine for example lack of structure and social interaction and missing clubs/activities
  • the impact of lockdown on wellbeing for example increased worry/stress, behaviour changes and illness/loss of family members
  • missing/lack of planned transitions - moving to home schooling, onto next school year, and into emergency childcare hubs

Example comments:

"Anxiety about the pandemic, not being able to see family/friends. Lots of crying, frustration, anger, worry. Sleep pattern disrupted. Difficulty focusing on schoolwork. More recently less enjoyment from physical activity.... trying to get out a slump!"

"Losing out in everything to do with finishing P7 for example residential trip, transition work, high school visits. Also having the structure of the classroom with teacher and the other pupils."

"Difficulty adjusting to home learning environment. Stress and anxiety relating to COVID. Difficulty understanding parents also working from home and routines are different."

"Lack of contact with friends and family. Dad has been made redundant from his job Initially found home schooling to be quite stressful. Lack of contact/support from teachers."

Part 2

Returning to school

Respondents were asked to rate how easy their child would find it to go back to school in August 2020, and how they were feeling about sending their child back to school.

They were asked an open question about what they would like to be put in place to feel more confident about sending their child back to school.

13% thought very easy, 27% easy. 37% thought in between. 17% thought difficult and 6% very difficult


10% felt very confident and 26% confident. 31% felt in between. 23% felt quite anxious and 10% felt very anxious


As a parent/carer, what would you like to be put in place so that you feel more confident in sending your child back?

Emerging themes were:

  • communication and information about school plans for example expectations for home learning, practical school arrangements, health and safety protocols and how school will support pupils
  • adherence to health guidance/health and safety arrangements for example school cleaning, physical distancing, providing face masks/hand sanitiser, plans for teaching staff and those with health conditions
  • a focus on transitional and curricular supports such as nurturing/welcoming atmosphere, reassurance/comfort, continuity of class/staff, and support for home learning

Example comments:

"Robust blended learning plans and strong communication as to how this will work. An opportunity to provide regular feedback to the school as to what is/isn't working."

"Appropriate health and safety measures such as social distancing, hand washing facilities. The communication on how the school will operate will be key."

"Plenty sanitisers, most important....A BIG WARM WELCOME BACK !!"

"Lots of support on the days kids not in school. Not lots of pressure put on the kids as transition from p7 to high school is hard enough."

Part 3

How can we help your child go back to school successfully?

Respondents were asked a number of open questions to gather the views of parents/carers about what might support pupils’ return to school.

What can we do to make getting back to school/nursery as easy as possible for your child?

Emerging themes were:

  • communicate with parents/children and provide information about plans/regular updates
  • prepare for and managing a supportive transition for example providing photos of school
  • focus on wellbeing and provide a nurturing approach
  • promote a connection to friends who are attending school at the and same/different times
  • provide a flexible structure for time in school for example shorter days at the beginning and full days for part of the week to maximise learning
  • keep things normal           
  • ensure health and safety for example provide hand sanitiser and ensure social distancing    
  • provide support for blended learning such as online teaching/video lessons and information about expectations

Example comments:

"More information. Survey to ask kids what they think/need. Keep siblings in school same day. Keep friendship groups together."

"Short days, maybe 1 or 2 periods per day at the beginning for all staff and children would help ease without being overwhelming."

"Clear unambiguous plan and timetable. Clear expectations of what has to be submitted, by when with timely feedback provided."

"Share photos of their classrooms so they can get used to the idea of what it will be like. Tell parents as much info as early as possible so we can prepare our kids for return. Let us know who their teachers is this side of summer again so we can reassure them. Get new teacher to do a wee video to say hello to new class. Anything to make it a bit familiar for them starting in August."

"Safety, hygiene, reassurance and patience."

What can we do the help your child’s wellbeing?

Emerging themes were:

  • offer wellbeing support for example health and wellbeing lessons, reassurance/support from staff and time to discuss feelings 
  • provide health and safety guidance and equipment for example encourage hand washing/social distancing
  • promote friendships for example ensure child has a friend in class and re-establishing friendships
  • communicate with parents/children and provide regular information about plans/regular updates for example information about practical arrangements
  • keep things normal

Example comments:

"Support her reuniting with her friends and recognise the importance of relationships with her first teacher by providing some initial contact."

"Have more lessons on how to cope with change + being flexible with the needs of the children as I know mine are quite anxious about returning."

"Additional Pupil Support time. Time to talk and discuss in class. Weekly bulletin shared with pupil/parents-reminder of health and safety measures."

"Ensure they are with friends that they know already in their bubble so they are excited to be with them and feel comfortable with their group."

What can we do to help them do the best they can to re-engage with schoolwork?

Emerging themes were:

  • provide online tools such as Google Classroom to support learning
  • be supportive/understanding/reassuring
  • allow time to ease in and be patient
  • communicate information, guidance, and updates with parents and pupils
  • provide a familiar structure, routine and staff
  • plan and prepare for return of pupils, and help parents plan too

Example comments:

"Provide specific tasks to do and have these marked and feedback by teachers. Recorded online lessons / zoom sessions would be ideal."

"I have great confidence in our school and there are good relationships between staff and pupils. Plenty of feedback for the pupils and encouragement. Understanding and support."

"Communicate. Communicate what plans are. Communicate with the child - explain why self-learning is essential if can’t be supported within school. Work in partnership both with each child and parents."

"Back in school with familiar teachers should do that. We have a few videos from the school which has helped stay engaged."

"Don’t rush! Be patient! Supportive!"

What would be helpful for you to know before your child goes back to school/nursery?

Emerging themes were:

  • plans for practical arrangements such as teacher; lunchtime/playtime/PE, equipment required and information about physical distancing and changes to environment
  • information about structure in terms of the school week and classes
  • information about what the curriculum will look like/how it will be taught
  • provide clear guidance on health and safety plans and protocols
  • communication from school such as videos/photographs/information about plans/changes and regular updates
  • provide information about transport arrangements

Example comments:

"The pace of the day, how social distancing will take place within the school, what hygiene procedures will take place, if children are attending in groups, who is in their group/class, break time procedures, if blended in school and home learning are taking place, what the arrangements are for the days they're not in school."

"Days, times, uniform or not? Basically a full overview of their day and video of environment if possible to help ease their stress."

"The way lessons will be taught, what is expected of the pupils regarding safety."

"What days they will go to school, which teacher they will have, expectations around play time/lunch time, will school transport be on, will they kids have gym day."

"Clear and full communication will be very important."

What would be helpful for your child to have on their first day back at school/nursery?

Emerging themes were:

  • understanding, support and communication for example re-establishing relationships, a relaxed environment, time to be with friends and opportunities to talk about feelings
  • a supportive transition for example time with previous class/staff provide information about new class/timetable and opportunity for ‘endings'
  • provide new rules and routines such as lists of new rules/routines and expectations and time to explain these
  • provide health and safety guidance and equipment for example sanitising stations reminders about physical distancing and PPE if required

Example comments:

"Support and encouragement, quite a casual day where he can re-engage with his peers and teachers. No pressure."

A transition chat with their old teacher to say goodbye and introduce their new teacher.

"Time to settle, chat, share stories. Have time to be shown around the establishment, awareness of any new rules i.e. toilet rotas. Acknowledging the amazing job they have done."

"Security. Lots of teaching on washing hands. Facilities to do so. Putting him at ease that he is safe and will be cared for."

Part 4

Additional Support Needs

Respondents were asked if their child has additional support needs, and if so to comment on the supports they felt their child would need upon their return to school.

14% said yes and 86% said no.


If so, what extra support do you feel they will need to return to school?

Emerging themes were:

  • information and communication
  • provide visuals such as photos of teachers, photos/videos or new school/classroom layout; have new rules and routines sent home and posted around the school
  • provide 1:1 support
  • provide targeted support for learning such as identifying gaps in learning, balance between recap/consolidation and new learning, and a focus on literacy and numeracy
  • focus on wellbeing and providing a nurturing approach for example a balance between settling into school and learning, access to nurture/wellbeing room and soft start
  • promoting relationships with peers and staff for example identifying key adults/regular communication with teachers and ensuring continuity of friendship groups
  • plan for exams and exam support for example facilitating scribes and readers under social distancing rules and focusing on catch-up prior to exams
  • support home learning for example providing access to technology as well as printed worksheets

Example comments:

"Visuals on how the school will look like socially distanced. Photos of how the playground will look and what he’s allowed to do and not to do. Photographs laminated in indoor and outdoor spaces will benefit as reminders for all of the children. Not just ASN."

"Phased return. Key adult. Buddy. Reassurance.  As much information as possible and interaction beforehand."

"Extra 1 on 1 time for help with reading and writing."

"As previously stated, but lots of patience and understanding, time to adjust and constantly checking in that he is ok and fully understanding what is being asked of him. Clear instructions possibly with the use of visuals. Good communication, space and time out if feeling overwhelmed. Support to let someone know if he is finding it difficult."

"Continued help and support with dyslexia, especially in exam situations."


38% of respondents reported that their child found the changes they had experienced during lockdown difficult or very difficult and 23% reported the changes were positive or very positive. 23% reported that they thought their child would find the return to school difficult or very difficult compared with 40% who reported their child would find it easy or very easy.

One-third of respondents reported feeling quite anxious or very anxious about sending their child back to school in August, and 36% reported feeling confident or very confident about sending their child back.

14% of respondents reported that their child had additional support needs. Emerging themes regarding extra support that respondent felt their child would need were related to:

  • information/communication
  • targeted support for learning and exam supports
  • 1:1 support
  • a nurturing approach with a focus on promoting relationships
  • visual supports
  • support for home learning

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

  • communication and information updates on plans for both parents/carers and pupils
  • reconnection with school staff and friends
  • a nurturing approach and focus on wellbeing such as providing supportive transitions, being understanding and reassuring
  • clear health and safety guidance, rules and equipment
  • allow time to ease in and have realistic expectations about learning
  • support for parents to help with blended learning model
  • a sense of normality

What schools and nurseries will do

  • We will continue to communicate clearly at school/establishment and council level about any changes in plans
  • We will focus on positive mental health and wellbeing, underpinned by our Attachment Strategy
  • We will continue to take account of all public health advice to provide safe learning environments
  • We will take all necessary steps to support positive transitions for children in the year ahead
  • We will continue to provide more targeted support using our staged intervention approach for those children with Additional Support Needs (ASN)