With students returning to schools, colleges, and university after months of being at home, the time has come to begin assessing the effects lockdown has had on their education and wellbeing. We are bringing you a roundup of this week’s education news so you can stay up to date.
Analysing the gaps in students’ education without extra tests
Lockdown and COVID closures resulted in millions of children missing months of school, causing concern for teachers, parents and the government as to how they can ensure pupils are developing academically. This week, the government has announced the introduction of a baseline assessment reviewing the scale of catch-up required for pupils after school closures. This will be done by comparing reading and mathematics assessments this year with previous results to produce a catch-up baseline. The method means pupils will not have to manage the workload or pressure of extra tests.
“Some teachers didn’t do as much in lockdown”
The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has stated that while thousands of teachers “went above and beyond” during the coronavirus lockdown there were “some that didn’t do as much”. He informed MPs on the Commons Education Select Committee that Ofsted would be reviewing schools’ remote learning methods after concerns were raised that some pupils were not being educated during the lockdown. Adjusting to new teaching methods must not have been easy for teachers, particularly during lockdown, so hopefully now schools are back they can catch-up where necessary.
88% of pupils returned to school for start of term
The first official figures for school attendance in England for the Autumn term have been released and they show that 88% of pupils went back; a 5% higher absence rate than usual. The absence rate may be higher than previous years as pupils are at home due to COVID outbreaks, adding to the growing concern of gaps forming in the education of pupils. It is more important than ever to ensure that pupils are receiving the learning support they need to develop, whether that is at home or at school.
Is technology the key to re-engaging children post-lockdown?
Schools are facing new challenges as they try to help pupils who have fallen behind or ones who require more advanced work. The Guardian suggests that technology could play a key part in this, using online learning resources alongside face-to-face lessons to help alleviate the extra workload for teachers. At Hopscotch, we know how beneficial technology can be when engaging young minds, particularly when children are learning at home with lots of distractions and missing out on vital face-to-face socialising with other children.
Decline in teachers’ mental health
The pandemic has impacted teachers greatly as they have had to adapt their teaching methods, plans and resources to suit remote learning and now must try to ensure their pupils are catching up where necessary. A new report from Education Support suggests that more than half of teachers have noticed their mental health decline during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing their biggest challenge as the lack of timely government guidance. These figures are really concerning, and we hope schools are providing support to the teachers who need it.