London — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to get the stalled UK economy to start moving again face a significant challenge, with many parents choosing to keep their children at home even though they could send them back to school.

Some classes for primary schoolchildren in the UK are due to restart this week after being closed for more than two months during the coronavirus lockdown but head teachers expect almost half of families to shun the offer, according to a survey.

That would mean many workers deciding to continue to educate their children at home while juggling their jobs or taking time off. It’s likely to have a continuing affect on the UK economy, which is heading for its worst recession for 300 years.

According to a survey of 1,200 school leaders, 46% of families on average will not send their children to classes even as the government tries to ease coronavirus restrictions.

The report by National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) showed schools serving disadvantaged children were predicted to have the highest absentee rates, raising concerns that students who need the most help with their learning will not get it.

“There needs to be very clear messages and reassurance for parents, as well as a continued focus on the quality of remote learning,” NFER CEO Carole Willissaid. “The findings also reinforce concerns about children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Johnson announced that from Monday some retail including car showrooms will be able to reopen, and people will be able to meet in groups of six from different households outdoors.

Scientists have raised concerns that the lockdown easing may be too risky, with high numbers of new infections being reported each day.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.