The FINANCIAL — More than a quarter of secondary-age pupils in Wales were spending three days or less on school tasks during the first lockdown, research has shown.
The survey, conducted by academics at Cardiff University, asked young people in years seven to 12 about their home learning experiences during summer last year, as well as focusing on their mental wellbeing and daily habits.
Its results show 28% of young people were spending three days or fewer on home schooling activities, with 47% spending five days.
Figures also reveal more than half (53%) of children in year seven were worried about catching up on their studies, which rose to 71% of year 10 students.
More than a quarter of young people surveyed worried about whether their family had enough money to get by.
Dr Catherine Foster, based at the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD), said: ““Our findings show the worries and challenges young people and their families have faced since the start of COVID-19. The results show that children miss their friends and teachers and will welcome a return to school, yet they do also worry about the safety of those around them.
“Nearly three quarters of the young people in Year 10 we surveyed were worried about catching up on their studies when we asked the questions last year, a concern shared by almost half in their first year of secondary school. It is therefore crucial to support young people in preparing for the next stage of their education and ensuring stress over missed work does not impact their future engagement with learning.”
A majority of those questioned said they appreciated their family more (70%) while 41% said they had a greater interest in politics and a third were thinking more about where their food came from.
Dr Foster added: “While greater appreciation of family and thinking about our food sources is a good thing, we must not lose sight of how difficult the past year has been for young people. Concerns shared by the majority about school and loved ones mean that mental health and wellbeing should be a key focus going forward for all services engaging with young people.”
Around 30% worry about the safety of teachers and other people who work at the school, and over 50% worry about the safety of themselves and their families.
Over one quarter of our young people also worry about whether their family has enough money to get by.
Children and young people have been supporting their families and communities during lockdown.
• 74% helped out more around the house.
• 37% looked after younger siblings.
• 21% looked after older relatives who needed extra help.
• 22% helped with dropping off food or other items to their neighbours, including food, newspapers and PPE.
The varying regulations put in place to control the spread of the virus within the UK appear to have heightened young people’s awareness of devolution.
• 94% knew that England had different lockdown regulations.
• 91% were supportive of Welsh Government policy.
However, while there was a high level of awareness that the rules were different, there appears to be a lot of confusion about what the rules in Wales were during the lockdown in the summer of 2020.
Attendance and safety at school
• 24% did go to school during lockdown. • 10% attended school for more than one
day a week.
• 69% enjoyed going to school in lockdown.
• 98% felt ‘very safe’ or ‘quite safe’ in travelling to school.
• 96% felt ‘very safe’ or ‘quite safe’ while they were at school.
• 46% managed to follow social distancing rules all the time.
• 52% managed to follow social distancing rules some of the time