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Primary school staff perspectives of school closures due to COVID-19, experiences of schools reopening and recommendations for the future: A qualitative survey in Wales
PLOS ONE, Volume: 16, Issue: 12, Start page: e0260396
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School closures due to the COVID-19 global pandemic are likely to have a range of negative consequences spanning the domains of child development, education and health, in addition to the widening of inequalities and inequities. Research is required to improve understanding of the impact of school c...
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School closures due to the COVID-19 global pandemic are likely to have a range of negative consequences spanning the domains of child development, education and health, in addition to the widening of inequalities and inequities. Research is required to improve understanding of the impact of school closures on the education, health and wellbeing of pupils and school staff, the challenges posed during face-to-face reopening and importantly to identify how the impacts of these challenges can be addressed going forward to inform emerging policy and practice. This qualitative study aimed to reflect on the perspectives and experiences of primary school staff (pupils aged 3–11) in Wales regarding school closures and the initial face-to-face reopening of schools and to identify recommendations for the future. A total of 208 school staff completed a national online survey through the HAPPEN primary school network, consisting of questions about school closures (March to June 2020), the phased face-to-face reopening of schools (June to July 2020) and a return to face-to-face education. Thematic analysis of survey responses highlighted that primary school staff perceive that gaps in learning, health and wellbeing have increased and inequalities have widened during school closures. Findings from this study identified five recommendations; (i) prioritise the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff; (ii) focus on enabling parental engagement and support; (iii) improve digital competence amongst pupils, teachers and parents; (iv) consider opportunities for smaller class sizes and additional staffing; and (v) improve the mechanism of communication between schools and families, and between government and schools.
College of Arts and Humanities
NationalCentre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research (https://ncphwr.org.uk/); The Economic
and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded the development of the HAPPEN network (grant