Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Pandemic and the deprived schoolkids

Figures reveal the gap in England between some pupils and their wealthier peers widened by 46% in the school year severely disrupted by the coronavirus lockdown. However, the 46% was “likely to be an underestimate” if differences between schools were included.

While the average learning lost was three months for all pupils, according to teachers, more than half of pupils at schools in the most deprived areas lost four months or more, compared with just 15% of those in the least deprived areas.

And while just 1% of pupils in the wealthiest areas were estimated to have lost six months in effective learning to the lockdown, in the poorest areas more than 10 times as many were affected as badly.

Nearly half of all pupils need intensive catch-up support to make up lost ground. And boys appeared to have been left worse off and further behind than girls, on average. Teachers said they only covered two-thirds of the usual curriculum during 2019-20, which will be especially critical for those pupils starting in years 11 and 13, and taking GCSE, BTec or A-level qualifications.

Jules White, a headteacher and founder of the Worth Less? group campaigning for improved funding, said: “Finally we have an independent report that sets out the vast array of challenges that schools are facing. From IT infrastructure to catch-up work, exam needs and children’s mental health, the scale is enormous, especially as schools are held together by sellotape and elastic bands anyway..."


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