Scottish parents and carers believe their child’s emotional wellbeing should be at the top of the curriculum, according to Children 1st national survey.

Scottish parents and carers believe their child’s emotional wellbeing should be at the top of the curriculum, according to Children 1st national survey.


Our national survey, conducted over social media, found that most parents and carers think that schools must make space for friendships, feelings and fun as they continue to re-open to more children.
Over 1700 parents and carers responded to the survey, with (58%) saying that the top priority for schools should be a focus on children’s wellbeing, compared to only 22% who said the top priority should be learning.


Parents and carers identified balancing their work and children’s needs, and helping their children maintain relationships with friends and family as the biggest challenges they face during the current lockdown. How children will return to routines is parents’ biggest concern about schools reopening, with over 60% of parents and carers citing it as a worry.


The results of the survey echo what Children 1st are hearing through Children 1st Parentline and our local family support services; and are at odds with recent calls for Scottish school days to be extended and school holidays to reduce.


As well as responding to the survey questions, many parents and carers shared more detail about what they believe their children need to recover from the pandemic, sharing comments like:


“I want my children to feel safe and wellbeing has to be priority. One whole academic year has been lost from education, but I feel a slow approach to learning should be made, not a rush to catch up.”


“Let children have time to play, forge friendships and space to emotionally recover from the pandemic.”


“We need to focus on wellbeing. The impact all of this uncertainty has had on children is immense, even if they aren't necessarily outwardly upset. Catching up on missed education is so important but we need to recognise the level of disruption they have all been through and support them positively to transition back into yet another change of routine.”


Commenting on the survey results Mary Glasgow, the Chief Executive of Children 1st, said:


“With all the discussion of longer school days, less holidays and general focus on formal learning as opposed to the wider social and emotional needs of children, it felt like the voices of families and children were being lost in the debate.
“That’s why we directly asked families what they would need to recover from the pandemic so they can cope with a return to school – and they have told us that many children will need support with their emotional wellbeing when they return.
“As we move closer to schools fully reopening, I urge the Scottish Government and the Scottish Education sector to listen to the voices of these families who are telling us that children’s wellbeing and self-confidence must be at the heart of the school’s response to Covid recovery.”
“We know that this year has been hard for all of us, but with the right support in place parents and carers are telling us that children can overcome any negative effects of lockdown.”


If your family are finding lockdown a challenge or are struggling with the return to school Children 1st Parentline offers free emotional, practical and financial support on 08000 28 22 33 or start a webchat online.