Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 19 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.

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Cyswllt:
Email Tim Vizard

Dyddiad y datganiad:
19 February 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
26 February 2021

1. Main points

This week, over the period 10 to 14 February 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:

  • Compliance with most measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (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).
  • Personal well-being measures for life satisfaction (6.4), feeling that things done in life are worthwhile (7.0) and happiness (6.5) remained at some of the lowest levels recorded since March 2020; however, the level of anxiety (4.1) improved slightly this week compared with last week (4.2).
  • Around a quarter (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.

This week, based on data collected between 13 January and 7 February 2021, we also looked at the experiences of homeschooling for parents with at least one school-aged child. We found:

  • Most (90%) parents said a child in their household had been homeschooled because of the coronavirus (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 homeschooled.

  • Of parents who had personally homeschooled, half (50%) said it was negatively affecting their well-being in January 2021 compared with 28% in April 2020; whilst almost two-thirds (63%) said that it was negatively affecting their children's well-being, compared with 43% in April 2020.

  • In January 2021, nearly half (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 two-thirds (65%) agreeing that they were concerned that their future life plans will be negatively affected by continuing their education at home.

Statistician's comment

“While homeschooling seems to be delivered more effectively now than it was last year, with more resources available from schools, it appears to be taking a greater toll on parents and children. Two thirds of parents say it is having a negative impact on their child’s well being – higher than in April last year.”

Hugh Stickland, Head of Strategy and Engagement, Office for National Statistics

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2. Understanding the impact on society

This bulletin contains data and indicators from a module being undertaken through the Office for National Statistics' (ONS') Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on British society.

The bulletin presents a summary of the results. Breakdowns by age, sex, region and country, including confidence intervals for the estimates, are contained in the associated dataset. Where changes in results from previous weeks are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals should be used to assess the statistical significance of this difference.

The latest statistics in this release are based on a survey of 6,009 adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain conducted between 10 and 14 February 2021 (inclusive). Results from this period are based on 4,234 responding adults (70% response rate).

Throughout the bulletin:

  • "this week" refers to responses collected during the period 10 to 14 February 2021

  • "last week" refers to responses collected during the period 3 to 7 February 2021

Homeschooling

This bulletin also looks at the experiences of homeschooling for parents with at least one school-aged child. This analysis covers the period 13 January to 7 February 2021 (referred to as January 2021). Four individual waves of data were pooled together to provide a sample of 18,112 adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain.

These results are compared with those collected between 3 April to 10 May 2020 (referred to as April 2020) and 7 May to 7 June 2020 (referred to as May 2020) that were published in Coronavirus and homeschooling in Great Britain: April to June 2020.

During these periods, schools were closed to most children except for children of critical workers or vulnerable children.

Children learning from home is sometimes referred to as remote learning or homeschooling. The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey uses the term "homeschooling", therefore this term is used throughout this bulletin.

The term "parents" refers to a responding adult who has at least one dependent child (see Section 9: Glossary) in their household. This will include parents and other guardians. Parents who have at least one school-aged child (that is, a child aged between 5 and 18 years) are included in the base population; parents where all their children are aged between 0 and 4 years are excluded.

This analysis refers to opinions and experiences of adults with children that are being homeschooled because of school closures caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is not reflective of adults that electively educate their children at home when schools are normally open.

For the latest time period, January 2021, all the results, including those for different sub-groups of the population, are contained in the associated dataset. Results for April and May 2020 are available in the associated dataset published last year.

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3. Main indicators

Compliance with most measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (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). Around 9 in 10 (91%) adults reported always or often maintaining social distance when meeting up with people outside their support bubble; a similar proportion to last week (90%) (Table 1).

Table 1: Main indicators

Great Britain, 3 to 14 February 2021

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Notes

  1. "This week" refers to responses collected during the period 10 to 14 February 2021.
  2. "Last week" refers to responses collected during the period 3 to 7 February 2021.

Download the data

This week, the proportion of adults reporting staying at home or only leaving for work, exercise, essential shopping or medical needs in the past seven days was unchanged from last week at 56%. This proportion is lower than the peak in mid-January at 65% but remains higher than before governments introduced tighter restrictions across Great Britain in November 2020 (Figure 1).

Further statistics on compliance with measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including trends over time, can be found in Tables 1a to 6 of the associated dataset.

More about coronavirus

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4. 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) remained at similar levels as 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 (Figure 2).

Figure 2: This week, personal well-being remained at some of the lowest levels since March 2020

Great Britain, March 2020 to February 2021

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Notes:

  1. Questions: "Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?", "Overall, to what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?", "Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?" and "Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?".
  2. These questions are answered on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is “not at all” and 10 is “completely”.
  3. Base: all adults.

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5. 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. Nearly 3 in 10 (29%) adults felt it will take more than a year for life to return to normal, compared with 27% last week (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The proportion of adults who reported they felt that it will take less than six months for life to return to normal decreased this week

Great Britain, March 2020 to February 2021

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Notes:

  1. Question: "How long do you think it will be before your life returns to normal?".
  2. Base: all adults.
  3. Response categories of "7 to 12 months", "Never", "Not sure" and "Prefer not to say" are not shown on this chart.

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Further statistics on well-being, loneliness, perceptions of the future and worries, including trends over time, can be found in Table 1b, Table 7 and Table 8 of the associated dataset.

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6. Attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination

This week, just over a quarter (26%) of adults in Great Britain reported they had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 22% last week. Nearly 7 in 10 (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. Around 1 in 25 (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.

The estimates presented here are from a sample of adults, and may differ from the latest official administrative data on the number of adults in Great Britain and its constituent countries who have received COVID-19 vaccination. Our survey does not include adults living in care homes or other establishments, so will not capture vaccinations in these settings. Because of small sample sizes, the percentage of adults who have declined the vaccine should be treated with caution. For more information please see the Glossary.

Looking at attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine this week, just over 9 in 10 (91%) 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, around 8 in 10 (78%) adults indicated they would be likely to accept the vaccine if offered it (Figure 4).

Amongst 16- to 29-year-olds, 81% reported they had either received the COVID-19 vaccine, or were likely to have the vaccine if offered. This positive sentiment increased with age to 88% of adults aged 30 to 49 years, 96% of adults aged 50 to 69 years and nearly all adults (>99%) aged 70 years and over (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Around 8 in 10 (81%) adults aged 16 to 29 years compared with over 99% of adults aged 70 years and above said they had either received or would be likely to have the vaccine if offered

Great Britain, 10 to 14 February 2021

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Notes:

  1. Questions: "Have you received a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?", "Have you been offered the vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?" and "If a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was offered to you, how likely or unlikely would you be to have the vaccine?".
  2. Base: all adults.
  3. Totals may not sum to 100% because of rounding and proportions of less than 1% are not included in this chart.
  4. Response category of "Have either received the vaccine, or would be likely to have the vaccine if offered" includes those who reported they have either received the COVID-19 vaccine, accepted an offer of a vaccine and are awaiting vaccination, or would be very or fairly likely to have the vaccine if offered.
  5. Response category of "Have been offered and declined the vaccine or would be unlikely to have the vaccine if offered" includes those who reported they have either declined the COVID-19 vaccine or would be very or fairly unlikely to have the vaccine if offered.

Download the data

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)

Further statistics on attitudes to vaccines and mass testing this week can be found in Table 12 of the associated dataset. For more information on attitudes to vaccines amongst different sub-groups of the population, including breakdowns by age, sex, ethnic group and disability status, see Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 29 January 2021.

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7. Homeschooling

Parents who were homeschooling

Between 13 January and 7 February 2021, 90% of parents with a school-aged child said that a child in their home had been homeschooled in the past seven days because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Those who have not homeschooled 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 homeschooled 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 homeschooled.

Experiences of parents that have personally homeschooled changed between April 2020 and January 2021 (Figure 6):

  • half (50%) of homeschooling parents said that homeschooling was negatively affecting their well-being in January 2021, an increase from 28% who said this in April 2020

  • almost two-thirds (63%) of homeschooling parents said that homeschooling is negatively affecting their children's well-being, compared with 43% in April 2020

  • just over half (53%) of homeschooling parents said homeschooling was putting a strain on relationships, compared with 36% in April 2020

Over a third (37%) of all homeschooling parents said that their job was negatively affected by homeschooling. Focusing on those in employment, 47% of homeschooling parents said their job was negatively affected, compared with 30% of homeschooling 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 homeschooling 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).

Over two-thirds (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 (Figure 7).

For those parents whose children had used school-provided resources, the number of hours children spent learning using these resources increased between these time periods, with 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. This compared with 18% in May 2020 (Figure 8).

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 three in four parents (74%) giving this as a reason.

Around half (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 (Figure 9).

Young people in full-time education

We also asked those aged 16 to 18 years in full-time education about the experiences around learning at home, as the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) includes respondents aged 16 years and over. In January 2021, the majority (97%) reported that in the past seven days they had continued their education at home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Those not continuing their education at home could include students who still attended school or college.

Most (93%) of those aged 16 to 18 years in full-time education said that they had accessed real-time interactive online learning. However, almost half (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 (Figure 10). In addition, 50% said that home education was negatively affecting their well-being; this is similar to the percentage of parents who said that homeschooling was negatively affecting their well-being.

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8. Social impacts on Great Britain data

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain
Dataset | Released 19 February 2021
Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain. Includes breakdowns by at-risk age, sex and underlying health condition.

Coronavirus and homeschooling in Great Britain
Dataset | Released 19 February 2021
Analysis of homeschooling in Great Britain during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN). Data relate to homeschooling from the COVID-19 module of the OPN, collected between 13 January to 7 February 2021.

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9. Glossary

Lockdown

On 5 January 2021, the UK government announced a further national lockdown for England. Similar rules applied for Scotland and Wales, particularly the message to "stay at home" meaning that adults in Great Britain were under a national lockdown at the start of the year in 2021.

Personal well-being

Personal well-being measures ask people to evaluate, on a scale of 0 to 10, how satisfied they are with their life overall, whether they feel the things they do in life are worthwhile, and happiness and anxiety yesterday.

For the latest estimates of personal well-being available from the Annual Population Survey (APS) and more information on the comparability of estimates of personal well-being between the APS and the estimates provided in this bulletin from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), see Personal well-being in the UK, quarterly: April 2011 to September 2020.

Vaccination for COVID-19

Following the first coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine being given in the UK on 8 December 2020, the COVID-19 vaccination is now being provided in various locations across the country. The vaccine is currently being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres.

National Health Service (NHS) guidance on the COVID-19 vaccine is available.

More information on the number of people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine to date is available.

Working adults

For this survey, a person is said to be a "working adult" if:

  • they had a paid job, either as an employee or self-employed
  • they did any casual work for payment
  • they did any unpaid or voluntary work in the previous week

Dependent children

A dependent child is defined as someone who is under the age of 16 years or someone who is aged 16 to 18 years, has never been married and is in full-time education.

In employment

A respondent is said to be "in employment" if their employment status is either employee, self-employed or unpaid family worker. This is different to the definition used in our labour market estimates, which also include a small number of people on government training schemes. The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) does not ask whether a person is on a government training scheme.

Parent

An adult is classed as a parent if they are the parent of a dependent child living in the household. Dependent children in this case includes children and stepchildren.

School-aged children

A school-aged child includes dependent children aged 5 to 18 years.

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10. Measuring the data

The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) is a monthly omnibus survey. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have adapted the OPN to become a weekly survey used to collect data on the impact of the coronavirus on day-to-day life in Great Britain. In the latest wave, 6,009 individuals were sampled, with a response rate of 70% (or 4,234 individuals) for the survey conducted from 10 to 14 February 2021.

The homeschooling analysis provided in Section 7 of this report is based on data collected over the period 13 January to 7 February 2021.

The pooled data comprises four waves of data collection covering the following periods: 13 to 17 January 2021, 20 to 24 January 2021, 27 to 31 January 2021, 3 February to 7 January 2021, and included 18,112 adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain. Pooling four waves of data together increases sample sizes, allowing us to explore homeschooling in more detail.

The survey results are weighted to be a nationally representative sample for Great Britain, and data are collected using an online self-completion questionnaire. Individuals who did not want to or were unable to complete the survey online had the opportunity to take part over the phone.

Where changes in results from previous weeks or differences between groups are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals, which are included in the associated datasets, indicate their significance.

Estimates in this bulletin are rounded to the nearest whole number. Where individual answer categories for a question have been combined to provide an estimate, this total may not appear to sum to the total of individual categories because of this rounding.

Estimates of attitudes towards vaccination provided since 13 to 17 January should be used with caution when compared with any weeks prior to this. In the weeks prior to this, adults were asked their likelihood of having the vaccine if offered, but were not specifically asked if they had already been offered or received the vaccine.

Sampling

A sample of 6,009 households was randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS). From each household, one adult was selected at random but with unequal probability. Younger people were given higher selection probability than other people because of under-representation in the sample available for the survey. The survey also includes a boosted sample for England, to allow more detailed analysis at a regional level, which are available in the datasets.

Weighting

The responding sample in the week 10 to 14 February 2021 contained 4,234 individuals (70% response rate). Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population.

Weights were first adjusted for non-response and attrition. Subsequently, the weights were calibrated to satisfy population distributions considering the following factors: sex by age, region, tenure, highest qualification and employment status. For age, sex and region, population totals based on projections of mid-year population estimates for February 2021 were used. The resulting weighted sample is therefore representative of the Great Britain adult population by a number of socio-demographic factors and geography.

For the pooled dataset used for the homeschooling analysis, data were weighted to be representative of adults in Great Britain based on January 2021 population estimates. 

For more information, see Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information.

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11. Strengths and limitations

The main strengths of the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) include:

  • it allows for timely production of data and statistics that can respond quickly to changing needs

  • it meets data needs: the questionnaire is developed with customer consultation, and design expertise is applied in the development stages

  • robust methods are adopted for the survey's sampling and weighting strategies to limit the impact of bias

  • quality assurance procedures are undertaken throughout the analysis stages to minimise the risk of error

The main limitations of the OPN include:

  • analysis of estimates in Wales and Scotland are based on low sample sizes, and therefore caution should be used with these estimates

  • comparisons between periods and groups must be done with caution as estimates are provided from a sample survey; as such, confidence intervals are included in the datasets to present the sampling variability, which should be taken into account when assessing differences between periods, as true differences may not exist

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Tim Vizard
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 455278