Updated: May 6, 2022
The long-erm impact of Pandemic on children’s education.
Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on families across the UK. Whilst the stresses of homeschooling were evident from the get-go, studies are now emerging to lay out the longer term impacts the pandemic has had on children and their education. Whether it be countless teary maths lessons, setting up Zoom classes or messy papier-mache art classes, parents were able to rally to provide children with a level of normality during the most isolating of times. It is now clear however that the extensive and disjointed barring of students to in-person schooling has taken a longer term toll on both children’s educational and socio-economic outcomes.
A recent January 2022 study has begun to map out the impacts of the pandemic on students. Socio-economic inequalities are the worst they have been in decades, particularly when measuring soft skills. Whilst 74% private schools received full day online education, only 38% of state schools students had the same experience. Not only are all students falling behind previous years on core class understanding, but they have missed out entirely on the extra curricular activities and soft skill development that is important not only for individual growth but longer term university choices and career prospects.
Amongst the difficult transition of moving an entire education system online and the confusion surrounding examination logistics, soft skills and personal development fell by the wayside. Whilst there is some promise in the recent Government announcement that it is now deemed safe to resume full-time in-person education, there is still much work needed to tackle the impacts that are already in motion.
Several think-tanks have been set up to tackle educational inequalities, but with limited government spending prioritising the safeguarding of school premises and minimising teaching disruption, there is little availability for tangible changes to tackle student’s soft skill deficit. With a staff shortage crisis and exam-focused teaching, parents are now taking matters into their own hands to ensure their child’s development is not stunted.
Through talking with educators and parents, effective and promising solutions include lobbying schools to put on extra curricular activities where possible, signing children up to out of school clubs or allowing your child to visit a holiday camp where they not only can socialise with a range of ages but also experience extra curricular activities and classes not taught in the current condense school curriculum. Understandably, there is the potential for inequalities to widen further here, between those who are in the know and able to offer their children additional support and those who cannot access supplementary activities. Encouragingly however, many establishments are offering scholarships or reasonable means tested payment plans in response to the education crisis.
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