· 61% of parents have learnt something new about the way their child learns
· 60% feel they previously had misconceptions about their child’s learning style
· Biggest concerns revealed include sitting national exams, learning differences and mental health
o National exams: 62% of parents of students in years 12 and 13 report concerns that their child hasn’t sat national exams before
o Learning differences: More than 1 in 4 (28%) identified that their child has additional learning needs
o Mental health: Almost half of children whose mental health was negatively impacted by returning to school are struggling with social anxiety
A new survey from Enjoy Education identifies a positive side to lockdown learning, as parents report feeling closer now to the concerns and development needs of their children, following more than six months of lockdown and isolations (peaking to a million children off in the summer term).
The research, which surveyed 1,500 parents of children from years 1 to 13, comes from Enjoy Education, London’s leading private tuition and home-schooling company, and identifies three key areas of parental focus and concern.
Nearly two thirds (62%) of sixth form parents are concerned that their child hasn’t sat national exams ahead of summer 2022 A Level and IB exams, following the cancellation of GCSEs over the last two academic years.
Parental concerns about sixth form students come as the current year 13 cohort is set to become the first to take A Level and IB exams without having sat GCSEs. Only 13% of parents surveyed said that their children in year 12 or 13 had previously taken a national exam.
The research also finds that many parents have identified areas where their children need extra support over the pandemic, with almost a third (28%) identifying that their child has additional learning needs, including ADHD, ASD and dyslexia.
Working closely with children over lockdown has made parents much more aware of the specific learning difficulties their children are facing. Of those who felt they had misconceptions about their child’s learning, 41% of parents of primary aged children have either had their children assessed or are planning to have their child assessed for special educational needs. 23% of parents who reported their children’s mental health had worsened since returning to school this year believe this is due to difficulties with learning needs in the classroom.
After two academic years of disrupted schooling, parents and students appear to be more open to different and more bespoke approaches to learning. 40% of students have asked to return to home schooling since going back to school, while almost 1 in 3 (30%) parents believe home schooling, either led by a team of professional tutors with a built in social and extra-curricular plan (21%), or by parents (9%), would best suit their child.
This research also comes amid concerns of a Covid-driven children’s mental health pandemic. While the majority of parents reported that the return to school had had a positive impact on their children’s mental health (53%), the survey also found that of those whose mental health was negatively impacted by the return to school, 45% are struggling with social anxiety, and 29% with exam anxiety. Other areas of concern for parents included bullying, body image concerns and issues with online safety.
Kate Shand, Founder of Enjoy Education, comments: “After two difficult academic years for parents and children, many parents feel closer to their children’s learning, and that they are able to take steps to give them the support that they need, whether with exam support, mental health, learning differences, or other needs.
It is so important that children feel heard and supported, and this heightened parental understanding will support prevention of issues, as well as vital intervention.
It is disheartening to see how many children have struggled with the return to school this term, and for parents struggling with this – you are not alone. The changing attitudes towards home- schooling and alternative learning methods are particularly interesting to note; we hope that one positive aspect of the pandemic will be to destigmatise alternative learning approaches, so that each child can learn in the way that best suits their potential – academically and holistically.”