Back to school? Not for nearly 1 in 4 parents.

As the government pushes to get kids to school, which “Tribes” are more concerned, and how does this influence their views on offices reopening?
27 August 2020
back to school coronavirus uki
Marieke Riemslag

Senior Research Director

Lucy Thomas

Senior Client Executive

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The time has come for kids, most of them at home since March, to “legally” return to school.

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on their education (most recently, the exam results chaos), and it is, therefore, not surprising that our latest omnibus data for the UK shows that approximately half of UK parents are concerned about their child[ren]’s education.

This is even more evident in mothers (58%), who tend to have more childcare duties, compared to fathers (42%).

This explains why less than three-quarters of parents are going to send their child or children back to school in September as the government is urging.

What do the parents in our “Tribes” think?

If we take a look at recent events, our “Tribes” had a mixed reaction to the pubs and restaurants reopening on “Super Saturday”. We have used our Research Express tool to understand their stance on schools reopening and found some similarities and further insights into their behaviours:

  • 41% of Precarious Worriers, who were previously leading the anti-pub movement, are unsure whether to send their kids back to school or not.
  • Less than 20% of our Hibernators and our Good Citizens are concerned about kids returning to school showing their ‘following-the-rules' abiding traits.

But why are parents willing to break to law?

Safety is the primary reason parents do not feel comfortable sending children back to school with almost half of these ‘outlaw’ parents stating this. Concerns around the spreading of the virus, especially in a school environment, and the danger for household with people belonging to a high-risk category also rank high (30% of parents).

A positive attitude towards home-schooling and concerns about the money (packed lunches and school buses are soon to be the bane of any parent’s morning routine) are also listed as reasons.

Data shows that even “Tribes” inclined to send their children back to school have reasons to worry: Good Citizens are mostly preoccupied with their children’s education progression, while Hibernators with physical health and safety. Nearly a third of respondents are also concerned about mental health (mainly driven by our Distressed Dreamers).

Are parents looking forward to going back to work?

30% of employed parents never stopped working in their usual workplace, but are the others looking forward to getting back to the office?

Nearly 1 in 5 still don’t have any clarity on when they will be returning to their workplace yet 60% say they don’t have any doubts about going back. The main issue is having interactions with colleagues with 76% of Britons worried about a second wave (Kantar COVID-19 Barometer). Childcare also plays a role with 1 in 5 parents concerned about how they will deal with childcare arrangements when back to the workplace.

In conclusion, parents are being ‘good citizens’ and adhering to the government decision to reopen the schools but there are still concerns around the safety of personal interactions, especially when it comes to interacting with colleagues.

For more information on any of the Tribes and their attitudes and behaviours, please get in touch.

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