Nearly half of parents think their children’s education will always be behind following months of disruption caused by Covid-19.
A study of 2,000 mums and dads revealed they think it will take at least three weeks on average before their child is fully settled back into the school routine. A further two in five are worried about their youngster adjusting to the daily routine again after almost six months away from school, while 19 per cent think they will struggle with motivation, and a third are expecting their child to be exhausted upon their return to education in September.
Worryingly, more than one in 10 mums and dads fear it could take up to six weeks for their child to fully settle back into school – half an entire term.
The research, which was commissioned by Collins, also found 31 per cent of parents feel apprehensive and nervous about their child going back to school. But despite their fears, a quarter also feel positive about September and 22 per cent are excited to see kids return to education.
Two thirds of parents feel optimistic about their child seeing their friends and 60 per cent like the fact they will once again have structured lessons during the day.
Lee Newman, education publisher at Collins, said: “This September will see a return to school like no other, and parents are understandably anxious about how their children will cope during the transition – it’s uncharted territory for everyone.
“What this year has underlined is what a societal cornerstone schools are and how dedicated teachers are to the education and care of their pupils, and I think parents’ fears will be allayed quite quickly once term is underway.
“Learning resources such as practice workbooks and revision guides have a great role to play as children get back up to speed.
“Parents can use them to model positive attitudes toward learning, they can be used informally to recap prior learning; and they provide a great confidence boost as students’ progress through the materials.”
Half of parents think their children’s social skills will have been affected after months away from the playground and classroom.
Other top worries around the return to school include the risk of their child catching Covid-19 (38 per cent), finding a five-day week difficult (27 per cent) and struggling academically (33 per cent).
But while 23 per cent worry their youngster feels nervous about going back to school, 35 per cent think they are also excited.
Playing games during break time (26 per cent), seeing their favourite teachers (22 per cent) and learning their preferred subjects (27 per cent) are things parents believe children are most looking forward to.
Seven in 10 also think they are excited to see their friends again.
In order to help kids settle back in, 38 per cent of mums and dads said less homework to start with will help, while 28 per cent believe reduced hours will also have a positive effect.
A further 42 per cent think a recap of last term’s work will be useful. But almost two thirds believe their youngster will struggle with the early starts, as they typically got out of bed at 8.30am during lockdown and will now have to set their alarms for 7am.
Of those polled via OnePoll, 62 per cent admitted they struggled to encourage their child to do school work from home.
As a result, the subjects primary school children are expected to struggle with most include maths (24 per cent), writing (18 per cent) and grammar (11 per cent). But they are likely to look forward to PE (15 per cent), reading (13 per cent) and science (13 per cent).
Parents of secondary school pupils think they will struggle most in September with the core subjects of maths (26 per cent) and English (14 per cent), while computer science (10 per cent), PE (13 per cent) and art (9 per cent) are expected to be the topics they are most excited to get back too.
Dr Kathy Weston, one of the leading experts on parental engagement in children’s lives and learning, said: “It is normal to feel a little bit anxious about the start of the school term, and this year it might feel particularly acute.
“However, it’s important that parents model the approach that we wish to see.
“By staying positive, focusing on the things we can control and expressing excitement about your child’s step up into a new school year, we give them the best chance of a good start in September”.
Read Dr Kathy Weston’s article: Supporting Children’s Self-Esteem Before School Return: 20 Tips for Parents at collins.co.uk/20tips.
Parents’ top 10 worries about their child returning to school:
1. Adjusting to their daily routine again
2. The risk of catching Covid-19
3. That their child will struggle with their next stage of learning after the recent gap
4. Worries about social distancing and how this will affect their child
5. Their friendships being affected by the break
6. How tired they will be
7. How much they will struggle with homework
8. Their overall confidence being affected
9. Their overall mood
10. Adjusting to a new teacher or school without having any settling in days
Things parents feel positive about their child returning to school:
1. Seeing their friends again
2. Getting back into a routine
3. Having structured lessons during the day
4. Spending time in the classroom
5. Getting more physical exercise