‘I no longer trust our son’s school’: Parents Resisting the Return to Face-to-Face Teaching

Lucy J Wenham*, Iqra Din, Liam Eaves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Not all parents across England are happy about sending their children back to school, following the lifting of lockdown measures in March 2021. Our qualitative research [1], listening to accounts from 85 such families, finds that these concerns stem from Covid-related anxiety, most commonly linked to protecting members of the household at greater risk of severe illness. The experiences of these parents resisting the return to school sheds light on the fragmented nature of our education system - the uneven, haphazard practices across different schools - and how once again this differentially impacts certain students and their families. Particular difficulties for students with a Special Educational Needs diagnosis (SEND), or those from multi-generational households, are underlined. Whilst some parents feel bullied into compliance, others are pressurised to deregister in a spate of what we term ‘Covid off-rolling.’ Several families have been able to fully embrace a permanent move to genuine home-education, further raising criticisms of our competition-driven, performative, neoliberal education system with its narrow curriculum offer. A comprehensive education system with critical pedagogy at its heart is what is called for.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Apr 2021


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