Perspectives & Experiences of Primary and Second-level Students and their Parents


From March 2020 onwards, families across the world found themselves subjected to a so-called ‘new normal’ when schools in over 180 countries closed their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Ireland, close to 1 million children enrolled in primary and secondary schools (CSO, 2020) were abruptly transitioned into their new classroom -home- ushering in dramatic changes in their daily routines and activities. Furthermore, over a period of up to three months, parents juggled work (if work was a viable or existing option for them), domestic life, and a new role as teacher of their children, without any preparatory training.

This study of parents’, children’s and young people’s experiences of ‘schooling at home’ was conducted in collaboration with the National Parents’ Council Primary through an online survey which was live between 17th June and 10th August 2020. A particular priority of the research was to capture and amplify the voices of children and young people in relation to the lived experiences of this new learning context. The final sample comprised of 2733 parents, 896 primary school students and 293 second-level students.

The principal topics explored in the study were experiences of and perspectives on:

  • Levels and types of engagement with ‘schooling at home’, including any change in engagement over the period of school building closures;
  • Factors influencing engagement with ‘schooling at home’ including technology-related matters and special educational needs;
  • The types and levels of teaching and supports provided by schools and teachers for ‘schooling at home’;
  • Perceived impacts of ‘schooling at home’ on the lives of children/young people and their parents;
  • The new arrangements for second-level ‘exam year’ students; and
  • Transitions back to formal schooling.

Project Team

Niamh Flynn (, Elaine Keane, Emer Davitt, Veronica McCauley, Manuela Heinz and Gerry MacRuairc [School of Education, NUI Galway]

In collaboration with Áine Lynch, CEO, National Parents’ Council Primary.

Please cite this Report as:

Flynn, N., Keane, E., Davitt, E., McCauley, V., Heinz, M., & MacRuairc, G. (2020). ’Schooling at Home’ in Ireland during COVID 19: Perspectives and Experiences of Primary and Second-level Students and their Parents. School of Education, NUI Galway: Galway, Ireland.


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