Three in five teachers fear for their safety due to COVID-19, new research finds

01 December 2020

New research* by Ecclesiastical has found that since schools have reopened to all pupils in September, three in five (58%) teachers agree they fear for their safety while working in schools due to COVID-19. One in five teachers (22%) strongly agree that they fear for their safety.

Are schools doing enough to protect staff and pupils?

One in ten teachers (10%) believe their school is not doing enough to protect pupils and staff from the risk of COVID-19.

Of those surveyed, 8% don’t believe their school has effective processes in place if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in their school.

Two in five (42%) teachers agree schools should shut again and students return to home-schooling to protect staff and pupils, while 18% strongly agree.

When asked what else they would like schools to do to protect staff and pupils, teachers suggested that all staff and pupils should wear masks and parents should wear masks on collection. Others felt more regular handwashing and more rigorous cleaning in schools is needed such as regularly sanitising door handles. Teachers also suggested schools should introduce regular temperature testing of staff and pupils regardless of whether they have symptoms and to have smaller bubbles or ensure staff are not mixing between bubbles.

Coping with school closures

Of those surveyed, three in five (63%) teachers said their school had shut or partially shut since September because someone tested positive for COVID-19.

One in seven (14%) shut and pupils received online tuition, while 17% shut but pupils did not receive online tuition.

More than a quarter (27%) partially closed and pupils who had been sent home received online tuition, while just 5% partially closed and the pupils received no online tuition.

COVID-19 government guidelines

The research found that one in ten (10%) teachers believe the COVID-19 government guidelines for schools are not at all helpful, while three in ten (30%) say the guidelines are not very helpful.

Faith Kitchen, education director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As one of the leading insurers of schools in the UK, Ecclesiastical is passionate about supporting the education sector. Our latest research has found that the majority of teachers are concerned for their safety while working in schools because of COVID-19 fears. We recognise that it is an incredibly challenging time for the education sector and schools need to carefully manage these risks.”

In February, Ecclesiastical launched the Education Risk Barometer which looks at the immediate and emerging risks facing schools in the UK.

* The survey was commissioned by specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical and conducted by OnePoll with 500 teachers between 20/10/2020 - 30/10/2020.