Support 100 years of independent journalism.

Public opinion is hardening against reopening schools

The majority of parents believe it will not be safe to send their children back on 1 June.

By Patrick Maguire

A majority of parents of school-age children believe it will not be safe for schools to reopen on 1 June, new polling for the New Statesman has found.

Some 52 per cent of parents believe the planned reopening of schools for certain year groups of the beginning of next month will not be safe, as do 53 per cent of all voters.

An even larger number – 61 per cent – believe that it is right for schools to remain closed until September despite the negative impact of extended closures on disadvantaged children.

More than half of parents of school-age children – 55 per cent – also say they will send their children to school regardless of any safety concerns.

The results mark a hardening of opinion from Redfield and Wilton’s last NS poll, when 41 per cent said schools should close as planned for the summer holidays.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

The number of voters who believe teaching should take place over summer has also fallen. While 52 per cent backed the idea last month, only 39 per cent do so now.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them