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NAHT: New poll shows confidence about relaxing lockdown measures in schools is still low

Ahead of Sunday’s announcement by the Prime Minister on the route out of lockdown, a snap poll of school leaders, conducted by school leaders union, NAHT, reveals that the majority of parents and schools are not yet confident that it will be safe to admit more pupils in the coming weeks.

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of NAHT said: “Of all the tests needing to be met before any relaxation the “confidence test” is as important as any other. The government has much work to do here. Our poll results show very clearly that confidence in relaxing the lockdown measures is very low. Coronavirus still has the country tightly in its grip. We are sending a very clear message to the government ahead of Sunday’s widely anticipated announcement about the lockdown: Safety first.”

The poll was conducted live last night during a webcast for NAHT members which more than 3,500 signed up to. The results showed that:

  • Only 10% of school leaders felt confident that it would be safe to open their school to more pupils in coming weeks
  • Only 5% of leaders felt that their staff would be confident that it was safe to increase the number of pupils in school in coming weeks.
  • Only 7% of leaders said they thought parents would feel confident that it was safe to send their children to school in coming weeks.

Mr Whiteman continued: “When the lockdown was announced, the rationale was clear, and all of the machinery of government was used to explain and convince people of the right course of action. Any changes to the status quo need an even greater effort on the part of the government to assure people that they are safe.

“Families want to know that it is safe for their children. Until that is made clear, many will choose to keep their children away, regardless of what the government says, and they should not be blamed for taking that decision.

“Equally, school leaders want to know that it is safe for their staff. Schools will need very clear and unambiguous guidance in order to move forward. There should be no grey areas in terms of what schools are expected to do. Leaving difficult choices up to school leaders who do not have access to the scientific advice would be an unreasonable burden to put on their shoulders. The situation is difficult enough.”


Here are the questions posed during the webcast, and the full results. There were 3,589 people signed up to attend.

Q1: Do you feel confident that it will be safe to open your school to more pupils, in coming weeks?

Yes - 128 responses - (9.6%)

No – 1205 responses - (90.4%)

Q2: Do you think your staff will feel confident that it is safe to increase the number of pupils in school, in coming weeks?

No 1251 (94.8%)

Yes 68 (5.2%)

Q3: Do you think your parents will feel confident that it is safe to send their children to school, in coming weeks?

Yes 87 (6.7%)

No 1216 (93.3%)

NAHT would like to thank Unions21 for facilitating the webcast for us.

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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