ONS COVID-19 Briefing: Social Impact

  • Briefing: 19th February 2021
  • Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 19 February 2021
  • National (Released: 19th February 2021)

Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 10 to 14 February 2021 to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain.

Key Points

  • Compliance with most measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 remained high, with similar proportions to last week reporting always or often handwashing after returning home (89% this week compared with 90% last week), using a face covering (96% this week compared with 95% last week) and avoiding physical contact when outside their home (93% both this week and last week).
  • 26% of adults in Great Britain reported they had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 68% reported they had not yet been offered the COVID-19 vaccine, 4% reported that they had been offered it and were awaiting it, and 1% reported that they had been offered it but declined it.
  • 90% of parents said a child in their household had been home-schooled because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past seven days, with 52% of men and 67% of women with a school-aged child saying they had personally home-schooled.
  • 50% said it was negatively affecting their well-being in January 2021 compared with 28% in April 2020; whilst 63% said that it was negatively affecting their children's well-being, compared with 43% in April 2020.
  • In January 2021, 45% of parents said their child spent 21 hours or more learning using resources provided by their school in the past seven days; this was up from 18% in May 2020.
  • Fewer parents of school-aged children said that their child struggled to continue their education at home in January 2021 (38%) than in May 2020 (52%).
  • We also asked those aged 16 to 18 years in full-time education directly about their experiences, with 65% agreeing that they were concerned that their future life plans will be negatively affected by continuing their education at home.

Context

Main Indicators in Great Britain

Compliance with most measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 remained high this week, with 89% of adults reporting always or often handwashing after returning home (90% last week), 96% using a face covering (95% last week) and 93% avoiding physical contact when outside their home (same as last week).

91% of adults reported always or often maintaining social distance when meeting up with people outside their support bubble; a similar proportion to last week (90%).

Indicators / This week % / Last Week %

  • Adults always/often handwashing with soap and water after returning home from a public place / This week: 89% / Last week: 90%
  • Adults that have used a face covering when outside their home in the past seven days / This week: 96% / Last week: 95%
  • Adults always/often maintaining social distancing when meeting up with people outside their support bubble / This week: 91% / Last week: 90%
  • Adults avoiding physical contact when outside their home in the past seven days / This week: 93% / Last week: 93%
  • Adults self-isolated in the past seven days / This week: 6% / Last week: 8%
  • Adults who have either stayed at home or only left for work, exercise, essential shopping, or medical needs in the past 7 days / This week: 56% / Last week: 56%
  • Working adults that have worked from home / This week: 48% / Last week: 46%
  • Working adults travelling to work (exclusively and in combination with working from home) / This week: 44% / Last week: 47%
  • Adults very or somewhat worried about the effect of COVID-19 on their life right now / This week: 74% / Last week: 74%

Personal well-being

This week, personal well-being measures including life satisfaction (6.4), the feeling that things done in life are worthwhile (7.0) and happiness (6.5) all remained the same as the levels reported last week. While we see a slight increase in the level of happiness in February, this is a minor improvement from the low level seen at the end of January (6.4). Positive well-being scores continued to be some of the lowest levels recorded since March 2020.

The level of anxiety continued to fall to 4.1 this week, down slightly from 4.2 last week. This compares with a level of 4.6 in the first week of January 2021, which was the highest score since April 2020.

Perceptions of the future

This week, the proportion of adults in Great Britain that felt that life will return to normal in six months or less decreased slightly, now at 20% compared with 21% last week.

The proportion of adults who felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal increased slightly. 29% of adults felt it will take more than a year for life to return to normal, compared with 27% last week.

Attitudes to COVID-19 Vaccination

26% of adults in Great Britain reported they had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 22% last week. 68% reported they had not yet been offered the COVID-19 vaccine (72% last week), 4% reported that they had been offered it and were awaiting it (5% last week), and 1% reported that they had been offered it but declined it (less than 1% last week).

Of adults aged 70 years and over, 95% reported they had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine; up from 78% last week. 4% reported they had been offered it and were awaiting it and less than 1% reported they had not yet been offered the COVID-19 vaccine. Less than 1% of adults aged 70 years and over also reported they had been offered it but declined it.

91% of adults reported they had now either received the vaccine or would be likely (very or fairly likely) to have the vaccine if offered. This also includes adults who have accepted and are waiting to receive it. A similar proportion was reported last week (92%). In early December 2020, 78% of adults indicated they would be likely to accept the vaccine if offered it.

Of all adults who said they would be unlikely to have the COVID-19 vaccine if offered, or had decided not to have the vaccine when offered, the most commonly reported reasons why not were:

  • feeling worried about the long-term effects on their health (41% this week, 43% last week)
  • feeling worried about the side effects (31% this week, 38% last week)

Because of small sample sizes, differences between this week and last week should be treated with caution.

Parents who where home-schooling

Between 13 January and 7 February 2021, 90% of parents with a school-aged child said that a child in their home had been home-schooled in the past seven days because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who have not home-schooled could include parents with children who still attended school or college.

Women with a school-aged child (67%) were more likely than men (52%) to say they had personally home-schooled a child in their home in the past seven days. Whereas, in April 2020, there appeared to be no difference between the percentage of men and women who said they had home-schooled.

Experiences of parents that have personally home-schooled changed between April 2020 and January 2021:

  • 50% of home-schooling parents said that home-schooling was negatively affecting their well-being in January 2021, an increase from 28% who said this in April 2020
  • 63% of home-schooling parents said that home-schooling is negatively affecting their children's well-being, compared with 43% in April 2020
  • 53% of home-schooling parents said home-schooling was putting a strain on relationships, compared with 36% in April 2020

37% of all home-schooling parents said that their job was negatively affected by home-schooling. Focusing on those in employment, 47% of home-schooling parents said their job was negatively affected, compared with 30% of home-schooling parents in employment in April 2020.

Resources used and hours spent learning

The most common resources that parents said their only or oldest child had used for their home-schooling in January 2021 were school-provided digital resources accessed via online learning platforms (for example, pre-recorded lessons, assignments, and e-workbooks) and school-provided real-time interactive online learning (for example, live lessons).

69% of parents said their child had accessed real-time interactive online learning provided by schools in January 2021, an increase from 25% in May 2020. In comparison, 22% of parents said their child had used non-digital resources (for example, books and textbooks found by the parent) in January 2021, a decrease from 33% in May 2020.

Additionally, 22% of parents said their child had used digital online learning resources (for example, BBC Bitesize or YouTube) in January 2021 compared with 40% in May 2020.

45% of parents in January 2021 saying in the past seven days their child spent 21 hours or more learning using resources provided by their teachers.

Extent children are struggling and why

Fewer parents of school-aged children said that their child struggled to continue their education at home in January 2021 (38%) than in May 2020 (52%). Among the parents who said their only or oldest child was struggling, the most common reason in January 2021 was lack of motivation, with 74% giving this as a reason.

49% of parents said "Parent or carer time to support is limited" was a reason their child was struggling to continue their education in January 2021, an increase from 33% in May 2020. The percentage of parents giving lack of appropriate resources as a reason for their child struggling to continue their education at home decreased to 16% in January 2021 from 25% in May 2020.

Young people in full-time education

97% of 16- to 18-year-olds in full-time education reported that in the past seven days they had continued their education at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those not continuing their education at home could include students who still attended school or college.

93% of those aged 16- to 18 years in full-time education said that they had accessed real-time interactive online learning. However, 47% reported that they have struggled to continue their education, with lack of motivation being cited as the main reason for this (89%). The next most common reason for struggling to continue education at home was lack of guidance and support, with 41% of those struggling giving this as a reason.

Most older children aged 16 to 18 years in full-time education (65%) somewhat or strongly agreed that they were concerned that their future life plans will be negatively affected by continuing their education at home.

In addition, 50% said that home education was negatively affecting their well-being; this is like the percentage of parents who said that home-schooling was negatively affecting their well-being.