Data doesn’t show parents will ‘insist’ on children wearing masks to school

7 September 2021
What was claimed

23% of parents of secondary pupils will insist their children wear masks when they return to school.

Our verdict

The survey question this claim is based on did not ask whether or not parents would “insist” children wore masks—only whether or not children would wear them.

Millions of children return to classes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland today amid fears of a similar spike in Covid cases to Scotland - as 23% of parents of secondary pupils will insist their children wear masks.

A Mail Online article claimed on Monday that “23% of parents of secondary pupils will insist their children wear masks” as they return to school, despite the fact they are no longer compulsory in England. 

The article cites a survey carried out by Parent Ping, an app which allows people to answer questions about parenting and compare their answers with other responses. 

A press release on the Parent Ping website says: “23% of you say your child will wear a mask at secondary school because the school have asked, and a further 15% will do so despite it not being mandated.”

There is no mention of parents insisting their child wear a mask. A spokesperson for Parent Ping confirmed that the word “insist” did not appear in the question sent to parents. 

In fact, the question parents were asked didn’t mention parental intent at all.

The question asked was: “Will [child] wear a mask in corridors at school?” with the possible answers being: “Yes, the school have asked for this”, “Yes, but the school have not asked for this” and “no”. 

The Mail Online article also says that the survey included 1,300 participants. However, Parent Ping told Full Fact that, because the question about mask wearing only related to secondary school pupils, this only equates to 704 responses. 

Parent Ping told us the survey responses are not weighted, but it monitors demographic criteria to understand how similar its respondents are to the national population. The spokesperson said the sample of respondents was well spread across England, but “considerably” more mothers responded than fathers, and the proportion of parents of children eligible for free school meals is lower than the national average. 

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