Many families earning over £60,000 would now think about switching children to independent schools to ensure better home learning provision
Nearly two thirds of more well-off parents with state educated children would now consider shifting to the independent sector because of concerns over education during the Covid crisis, a survey has found.
A poll of more than 500 families across the UK carried out at the end of the summer holidays found that 64 per cent of parents who were not paying for their children’s schooling would now think about going private.
The UK’s schools were forced to close when the national lockdown was announced in March. Lessons moved from the classroom to online or remote learning and parents assumed the role of teachers – in many cases while managing their own workload from home.
“The quality and quantity of schoolwork set by schools for pupils to carry out at home during lockdown varied wildly,” said James Leggett, managing director of MTM Consulting, which asked the opinions of families with household incomes over £60,000 and children at state and independent schools.
“While some pupils followed the usual daily timetable with virtual lessons led by their regular teachers, many were left to complete photocopied worksheets or unfocused projects under the supervision of their parents.”
Three-quarters of the families surveyed had taken part in digital learning and virtual lessons throughout the summer term of 2020. But while 90 per cent of parents with children at independent school judged the quality of home learning to be good or very good, only 11 per cent of state schools parents could say the same.
“Obviously it does require an enormous amount of resources and of course teacher dedication to move the entire learning online, and there were challenges for all schools to manage this effectively,’ said Mr Leggett.
Of the 64 per cent of parents in the study who would consider moving their children from state to fee-charging schools, 27 per cent were in wealthy households with older children, while 22 per cent were less affluent families who would be prepared to make financial sacrifices to pay school fees.