This week’s Education insights explores the impact the pandemic is having on students' mental health, expected disruption in schools next year and the special educational needs deficit.
Lockdowns leave half of teenagers battling anxiety and trauma
A systematic review into the impact of school closures includes UK data on more than 2,000 young people questioned in depth about their feelings and experiences. The research shows that 53% of girls and 44% of boys aged 13 to 18 were found to be suffering from trauma or PTSD in the months after the first lockdown. 60% of boys and 50% of girls of the same age were classed as suffering from anxiety. The Royal College of Psychiatrists said the Covid pandemic had caused a mental health crisis among children, with school closures having had a “devastating impact”.
Exams altered next year after pandemic disruption
Next year's A-levels and GCSEs in England are likely to face "adjustments" to be fairer to pupils disrupted by the pandemic, the education secretary has told MPs. The education secretary suggested that some of the ideas which would have been used for this year's exams, before they were cancelled, could be applied. Those included slimming down some of the subject areas to be tested, pushing back the dates of exams to increase lesson time, and looking at ways of reflecting that students would have covered different amounts of their courses.
DfE tells schools to prepare for return of on-site Covid testing in September
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said the government “must not underestimate the scale of this task and the likely disruption for pupils as they return in September. “It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a strong chance it will not be ‘business as usual’ for schools next term and the government will need to take into account the additional pressures they will be having to deal with.” DfE is also looking to extend remote learning legal duties on schools until March next year, sources said.’
English county councils warn of £1.3bn special educational needs deficit
A survey by the County Councils Network (CCN) and the Society of County Treasurers shows the combined deficit for 40 authorities has gone up from £134m in 2018-19 to a projected £1.3bn in 2022-23. They warn that this increase is a result of “an explosion” in the number of children requiring additional support and worry that they are facing “a financial cliff edge”. The CNN is calling for an injection of additional funding in the forthcoming spending review to help bring deficits down to a manageable level. A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We have announced the biggest increase in school funding in a decade and increased high needs funding for councils to provide services for families and children with special educational needs and disabilities to more than £8bn this year – an increase of nearly a quarter over two years.”