26 February 2021
Go to release: Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey February 2021: Impact of School Closures
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (26 February 2021) published further results from the fifth round of the Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey. The primary topic covered in this publication is The Impact of School Closures on Students’ Learning and Social Development. On 25 February 2021 the CSO published results from this survey that focused on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on well-being. On 1 March 2021, further results from this survey will be published which will cover the topics of Holiday Plans in 2021 and COVID-19 Vaccination.
Commenting on the results, Senior Statistician, Gerry Reilly said: “The findings of the survey serve to highlight the impact that school closures are having on students learning and social development.
Impact of School Closures on Students’ Learning and Social Development
More than one in three (36.3%) respondents with a child in secondary school reported that enforced school closures has had a ‘Major negative’ impact on their child’s learning. The comparable rate for primary school students is 14.8%. At secondary level, the enforced closure of schools has the largest negative impact on the learning of senior cycle students (fifth and sixth year students). Almost one in two (47.9%) respondents with a child in senior cycle secondary education reported a ‘Major negative’ impact on their child’s learning. The comparable rate for respondents with a child in junior cycle secondary school (first, second or third year) was one in four (25.2%).
At secondary school level, respondents with a child at senior cycle (fifth or sixth year) level were more likely to report a positive effect on their child’s learning, with almost one in ten (9.0%) reporting this compared with 1.5% of respondents with a child in junior cycle secondary education.
One in three (33.6%) respondents with a child in secondary school reported a ‘Major negative’ impact on their child’s social development. The comparable rate for respondents with a primary school student was one in five (20.9%).
Hours spent on learning activities provided by schools during enforced school closures
During enforced school closures from March to June 2020, one in four (25.0%) respondents with a child attending primary school reported that their child spent one hour or less on learning activities (e.g. worksheets, online lessons or other materials) provided by their schools. The comparable rate during school closures in January and February 2021 is one in ten (10.4%). From March to June 2020 one in three (33.5%) respondents with a child in primary school reported that their child spent three hours or more on learning activities provided by their schools. This rate has increased to 56.9% during primary school closures in 2021.
During the first enforced school closure period from March to June 2020, three in ten (29.9%) respondents with a child in secondary school (first to fifth year) reported that their child spent five hours or more per day on learning activities provided by the child’s secondary school. The comparable rate during secondary school closures in 2021 is seven in ten (69.0%).
Adult household members are spending on average of 52 minutes per day helping primary school children with their schoolwork since schools have not re-opened after the Christmas break.
Impact of School Closures on Working Parents
Seven in ten (70.3%) respondents who are employed and who have a child in primary school reported that the closure of primary schools since Christmas has had an impact on their work pattern. Female respondents were more likely to report an impact (74.0% compared with 63.4% of male respondents).
In relation to the type of impact, male respondents with a child in primary school were more likely to report working the same hours but in a disjointed pattern throughout the day or week, with four in ten (40.8%) reporting this, compared with two in ten (21.7%) female workers. Female respondents were more likely to have taken unpaid leave (9.4% compared with 0.4% of male respondents) and to have changed to working from home (16.7% compared to 9.3% of male respondents).”
The Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey published today utilised an online electronic questionnaire to produce a final achieved sample size of 1,621 individuals. Due to public health guidelines regarding COVID-19, our interviewers no longer conduct CSO household surveys in the sampled households' own homes. Sample households now receive introductory letters by post asking them to ring the CSO to schedule an interview which is conducted over the phone. These surveys give us a picture of the economic and social situation of the citizens of Ireland, with a level of accuracy no one else can gain. If you are asked to take part in a CSO survey, please do so. It means that when CSO figures are quoted you know they’re accurate, Because you told us.
Further details on the methodology can be found in the Background Notes.
Gerry Reilly (087) 2505165 (+353) 21 453 5700 or Claire Burke (+353) 21 453 5046
or email ICW@CSO.ie
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