Covid has eradicated the progress of disadvantaged students, study finds | Education
Much of the progress made in closing the achievement gap for disadvantaged children over the past decade could have been eradicated during the pandemic, new government-commissioned research has revealed.
Studies, released by the Department of Education (DfE) on Friday, also show significant regional disparities in the impact of education disruptions caused by Covid, with students in parts of northern England losing twice more learning over the same periods as those in London.
This prompted new calls from teachers’ unions to invest more in catch-up efforts, two days after the resignation of the head of government for revival of education, Sir Kevan Collins, to protest what he called “half-hearted” ministerial plans.
The research was conducted by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) think tank in English primary and secondary schools during the fall term of last year and spring 2021, using the months of success lost in metric. reading and math.
Although he found that the overall results suffered particularly during the two periods when most students were learning at home, with some recovery when students returned last fall, the effect was magnified due to the disadvantage. and location.
In October, last fall quarter, the average learning losses for elementary school students were 3.7 months for math and 1.8 months for reading. But for disadvantaged students, the average was 4.3 months of math and two months of reading. A similar effect was found for high school students.
Although the most recent data on learning loss among disadvantaged children, assessed in March, has yet to be released, the report’s authors said there were signs of a growing gap. Overall, they said, this appears to have reversed between one-third and two-thirds of all progress made over the past decade.
There were also notable regional differences, although the researchers called for some caution about this due to the smaller sample sizes.
A dataset found that in the autumn quarter of last year, primary school children overall lost 1.3 months reading in London and 1.5 months in the south-west of England, but 2.3 months in the North East and 2.6 months in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Jon Andrews, head of analysis at EPI, who co-authored the research, said she had discovered “a clear penalty incurred by underprivileged students during the pandemic” that risked widening the gap overall educational outcomes and significant regional disparities.
“We must continue to explore how we can support all students through effective remedial programs, but especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, whose education has suffered the most damage from the pandemic.” he said. “It is also important that policies address the significant losses seen in some parts of the country. “
The same point was made by teachers’ unions, which sharply criticized the DfE catch-up plan, announced on Wednesday, which included funding for additional tuition fees and other measures – but, at 1.4 billion of pounds, it was about a tenth of what Collins had proposed in his plan.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, which represents school leaders, said that if there was the “silver lining” in the report of the reduction in learning losses when students were in school school last fall, research showed the need for an ambitious stimulus package. .
He said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that disadvantaged students have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and we are also starting to see regional disparities. This is why the government’s failure to back its own catch-up tsar’s backing plans this week has been such a disappointment.
Geoff Barton, Secretary General of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “It is very clear that a recovery program is urgently needed on a scale and scope to address this massive problem.
“Instead, this week we have seen an unambiguous, underfunded government package that has prompted the Education Revival Commissioner to step down in protest.”