Coronavirus: Parents Heed Calls Not To Send Children To School

TeachWell - Putting Education Professionals First

Parents have heeded warnings not to send children into school unless it was a last resort, say head teachers.

Schools in the UK have closed to reduce the spread of coronavirus – and are only open to look after the children of “key workers” and vulnerable children.

Early snapshot surveys suggested schools had between 1% and 20% of pupils attending.

The Department for Education welcomed that numbers in school were “low” and that parents had kept children at home.

There had been fears too many pupils would turn up and that schools with depleted numbers of teachers would struggle to cope.

But Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union, said the numbers at school appeared to be “manageable”.

He said parents appeared to have “heeded calls to use the emergency provision in schools only in the event that they are key workers who have no option available to keep their children at home”.

This was supported by a snapshot survey from the National Association of Head Teachers, with members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, showing that:

  • in 94% of schools no more than 20% of pupils had attended.

A separate survey from the ASCL union, also of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, showed even lower numbers, with:

  • fewer than 10% of pupils in the “vast majority” of schools
  • most schools had between 1% and 5% pupils attending

This is only the first day for such emergency childcare cover and a full picture will take time to emerge, but the early reports might allay concerns that families would continue to send their children to school.

“It appears that the vast majority of families have responded to our appeal not to send their children to school, and we thank them for that,” said Paul Whiteman, the NAHT’s general secretary.

Children have been told to stay at home across the UK.

Parents walk their children to school on the last day before their official closure
Image Copyright: Reuters

Most children had their last day of school on Friday until further notice

Keeping schools open to look after the children of key workers – such as NHS, emergency or transport staff – is intended to help parents keep going to work and to maintain essential services.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, has called for virus testing for all staff in schools that remain open.

“This is no time for half-measures,” said Dr Bousted, who said staff who were vulnerable, or who had vulnerable family at home, should not be put at risk by being in school.

The government has closed all schools, but what does that mean for exams, and who can still go in?
Gavin Williamson, England’s Education Secretary, said: “Early indications are that the number of children attending school today is low, and we thank parents for making the right choice and playing their part in our fight against coronavirus.

“People must do everything they can to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

In Wales, Education Minister Kirsty Williams had called on key workers to “think very carefully” before sending their children to school.

Northern Ireland’s Education Minister, Peter Weir, said children should only attend school if there was “no other viable option” for their care.

TeachWell - At Your Service

Explore what TeachWell's services can offer you

Supply Cover


Long Term Placements


Learning Support Staff


Permanent Jobs


Time to make the leap to something new?

The TeachWell team is ready when you are...

TeachWell Education Recruitment Agency

Is it time for a change?

Using TeachWell's dedicated education recruitment services takes the stress out of finding the perfect position for you!

TeachWell Education Recruitment Agency

Doing the hard work for you!

Looking for a new job can be stressful, let TeachWell do the hard work for you and put you in the position you want and deserve!

TeachWell Education Recruitment Agency

Let's Talk!

TeachWell are waiting to talk to education professionals just like you! The question is are you ready for something new?

Ready to find out more about TeachWell?

Contact TeachWell today and start your new career path tomorrow!