A new survey shows that more than half of children in Wales are worried about falling behind with their schoolwork, following the covid-19 school closures.

The survey, led by children’s commissioner Sally Holland, as well as the Welsh Government, the Welsh Youth Parliament, and Children in Wales, involved 23,000 children in Wales aged between three and 18 years of age.

It asked children what their feelings were about returning to school, as well as any concerns or worries they had experienced during the lockdown period.

Though almost all of children surveyed (84%) said they felt safe returning to school, a worrying 54% of them said they were worried their education had been negatively impacted by the closures.

Other concerns listed included missing their friends, and family members catching the virus. Many children also said they wanted “more face-to-face contact” with teachers.

Sally Holland, children’s commissioner said: “As the government moves on to the next phase for schools, it’s really important that children and young people’s schoolwork-related anxieties are eased.

“There’s been a huge effort from the education profession in re-purposing schools, making emergency childcare provision and keeping in contact with children. Teachers have also shown real courage in working in hubs throughout this crisis.

“But it’s clear that many children and young people do want more support with their learning at home.”

Three quarters of year 6 students expressed their desire to visit their new secondary school before starting in September. 76% also said they wanted the chance to say goodbye to their old primary school.

One positive outcome of lockdown for many students was getting to spend more time with their family. This is despite government worries about the lockdown measures putting more strain on families.

“This unexpected intense period of several months at home, with so many parents either furloughed or working at home, has undoubtedly brought tensions and pressures to some families.

“However, many of the children surveyed reflected on the pleasures of the break in usual busy routines, with families playing, eating, exercising and learning together much more than usual.”

Students social distancing in school

Schools returning to a ‘new normal’

Schools across England have already begun to return to a ‘new normal’, reopening their doors to more students from June 1st.

However, various safety precautions and social distancing measures have been put in place, such as desks spaced apart in classrooms, students having to use all of their own equipment, strict hand washing protocols and carefully planned one-way systems around the school.

Wales schools are currently preparing to reopen on June 29th.

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