Mothers more worried about their children returning to school than fathers, poll reveals

Phoebe Southworth
Children wearing face masks at school in Tahiti - Suliane Favennec/AFP

Mothers are more worried about their children returning to school than fathers, a poll has revealed.

There is significant unease about primary schools opening from June 1, with the majority of parents (61 per cent) not prepared to allow their children to go, regardless of their age, the survey by ORB International found.

However, mothers appear to be significantly more concerned than fathers.

While 29 per cent of men would be prepared to allow their children back to school, only 19 per cent of women would be happy with this, according to the poll, based on 2113 interviews carried out across the UK this week.

It comes as teaching unions, headteachers and politicians continue to call on the Government to publish the scientific advice which says reopening schools next month is safe.

Many parents are worried that social distancing will be difficult to implement in classrooms, and their children may fall ill with coronavirus or pass it on to others who may be more vulnerable to serious symptoms.

The Department for Education has said children's education and well-being will be greatly benefitted by returning to school, and it will provide a particular boost to disadvantaged children who don't always have the support they need at home.

ST Covid Poll 24/05

Meanwhile, the public's approval of the Government's handling of the coronavirus crisis is increasing, the poll suggests, with 42 per cent now saying they are happy with the management of the pandemic (up from 38 per cent last week).

There has also been a decline in those who think the spread of the virus is not being properly controlled, dropping from 74 per cent to 56 per cent, and an increase in those who believe it is, rising from 17 per cent to 29 per cent.

Some confusion over what the Government's 'stay alert, control the virus, save lives' message means persists, with only 62 per cent saying it is clear and easy to understand, the poll shows. Comparatively, 89 per cent understood the previous message of 'stay home, protect the NHS, save lives'.

The public also don't seem confident they will be able to go on a summer holiday this year, with just 10 per cent of respondents saying they are making plans.

People travelling to the UK will now be required to quarantine themselves for two weeks from June 8 onwards, the Home Secretary announced on Friday.