Half of parents in Northern Ireland believe post primary school children should return to school with blended learning across all year groups, a survey suggests.
At primary school age level, 40% prefer the blended learning option if schools are unable to open simultaneously once the current lockdown ends.
The survey, from Parentkind and conducted between February 9-17, also shows that 36% of parents of pupils at all schools should be back in education as soon as restrictions start to lift.
Safety of pupils does remain a key concern for parents.
Most parents want to listen to the advice of the government, school leaders and scientists combined, with 27% saying they would need those assurances before sending children back to the classroom.
Most appear more trusting of scientists (13%), followed by school leaders (8%) with only 3% willing to listen to the government.
Surprisingly, only 7% of primary parents say they will only send their children back when all staff have received Covid the vaccination.
“The negative impact the disruption to schooling is having on young people and their parents’ psychological wellbeing is widely reported,” said Jayne Thompson, from Parentkind in Northern Ireland.
“That is why it is imperative that schools are reopened as safely and as soon as possible."
Primary school parents are split over which year groups should be the first to return if all pupils can’t go back at the same time and blended learning is not an option, with 20% advocating a return for P6 and P7 and a similar number for P1 to P3. Only 5% believe P4 and P5 should be the first grouping to return.
While blended learning is the preferred option, most parents of post primary pupils (27%) think it is right for Years 12-14, those in exam years, to go back first.
That figure drops dramatically to 8% in favour of Years 11/12 returning first, 4% for Year 8 and 3% for years 9/10.