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Young people’s concerns about school (Sept 2020)

Focus of this report

In light of the recent exam grading controversy, this report provides cross-sectional data from 987 parents/carers of young people (aged 12-16) and 284 young people (aged 12-16) who completed the Co-SPACE survey within August, either as part of the initial survey or the monthly follow-up surveys.

This report also provides longitudinal data from 142 parents/carers of young people (aged 15-16) who completed the survey in July and a follow-up survey in August.

In this report, we examined the responses for the following specific groups:

  1. Child age (12-14-year olds vs 15-16-year olds)
  2. Higher and lower household incomes (those above and below an annual household income of £16,000 and £30,000, which are the poverty line and mean national income respectively)

Focusing on the following issues:

  1. Parent/carer report on their children’s worries around the return to school
  2. Parent/carer report on their feelings around how their child is doing
  3. Young people’s self-report on their worries around the return to school

Please note:

It is important to note that we do not have comparative data from pre-COVID-19 so findings should be considered descriptive based on this particular, non-representative, sample and no conclusions can be drawn about how the findings might differ from any other year outside of the COVID-19 context. It is also important to note that where responses in July and August are compared, responses may have been submitted at any time during those months.

Key findings

  • Young people aged 15-16 were more worried about academic pressure than children aged 12-14. This was consistent across parent-reported and self-reported data.
  • Over half of the 15-16-year olds reported feeling worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their job prospects and the economy.
  • From July to August, parents/carers reported an increase in young people’s worries about their job prospects and the economy.
  • A higher percentage of 15-16-year olds from low income households (<£16,000 p.a.) were reported to have substantial worries about the academic pressure and lack of support in school work at this time, compared to higher income households.