Pupils in England are three months behind in their studies after lockdown, a survey of teachers carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) suggests.
As the BBC reports, the survey – conducted just before the end of term in July – also revealed that the learning gap between poor and rich pupils grew by nearly half between March and July. Authors have warned it’s unlikely that pupils will be able to catch up quickly.
NFER polled nearly 3,000 heads and teachers in around 2,200 primary secondary schools in England.
Almost every teacher (98%) in the survey said their pupils were behind where they would typically expect them to be in the curriculum for the time of year.
On average, teachers told NFER they had covered just two thirds (66%) of their usual curriculum by July, which puts children three months behind in terms of their learning.
Boys were discovered to be further behind than girls, while the learning gap for poorer pupils has widened by at least 46%.
Teachers working in the most deprived schools – meaning, those with the most children accessing free school meals – were 53% more likely to say pupils were in fact four months behind, compared to the wealthiest schools (15%).
In total, teachers predict that 44% of pupils will need intensive catch-up support. Again, this was higher for the most deprived schools (57%) than wealthier schools (32%).
Dr Angela Donkin, chief social scientist at NFER, welcomed the government’s National Tutoring Programme but also questioned “whether the scale will be sufficient to meet the high demand for those requiring intensive support.”
Dr Donkin also pointed out: “Whilst it is crucial that children catch up, we should not assume that teachers will immediately be able to deliver the same quality of teaching at the same speed as before the pandemic.”
If you’ve just returned to the classroom, do you think enough is being done to support teachers and schools to make sure children can catch up on their learning?