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Coronavirus: Poor families less likely to want to send their children back to school, survey finds | UK News

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Poor families are more reluctant to send their children back to school during the coronavirus pandemic despite fewer opportunities for them to learn at home, a survey suggests.

Most parents of primary school children report that they are finding it difficult to support their children’s learning at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report says.

But less than a third (29%) of parents in the poorest families would send their child back to primary school if given the choice, compared with 55% of the most affluent parents.



Michael Gove



Gove defends reopening schools

Alison Andrew, senior research economist at IFS and co-author of the report, said: “This risks leaving the children least able to cope with home learning remaining at home, even as their better-off classmates return to school.”

Lucy Kraftman, research economist at IFS and co-author of the report, added: “These differences will likely widen pre-existing gaps in test scores between children from different backgrounds.”

The survey of more than 4,000 parents found that children from more affluent homes are spending an additional 75 minutes a day on educational activities than youngsters from the poorest households.







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Pupils from the wealthiest backgrounds will have done seven full school days’ worth of extra home learning by 1 June, when more pupils could return to school, an Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report says.

This gap between poor and wealthy pupils will double to three school weeks if children do not go back to school until September, the study has warned.

It comes as unions and ministers have clashed over government plans for schools to reopen in June.

Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, said many children were struggling out of school and the lack of education would be detrimental to their future life chances.

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Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said teachers and school staff were well aware of the additional struggles faced by children from disadvantaged backgrounds have to contend with.

He said: “Internet access is not the norm, space to learn is not available and many deal with high stress levels due to the daily struggle of worrying about money for basics such as food, clothing and heating.

“Schools are doing all they can to support these children during lockdown by sending out care packs and learning packs.”

He said children should go back to school as soon as it is safe: “For that to happen Government needs to reassure parents and schools that it is safe to do so by publishing the science behind a June wider re opening, and have testing, tracking and tracing in place for reopening.”

Mr Courtney added: “Ministers must tackle child poverty through the coronavirus economic recovery plan. While this period of lockdown will end, the educational disadvantage that exists as a result of poverty will not. Schools cannot tackle this on their own.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We will do whatever we can to make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of coronavirus.



Generic school



Parents fearful of sending children to school

“We have set out plans for a phased return of some year groups from June 1 at the earliest, in line with scientific advice.”

Researchers surveyed 4,157 parents online in England, with children in eight different school years aged between four and 15, between 29 April 29 and 12 May.

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