lockdown progress was ‘wiped out when schools shut again’
Boris Johnson Pool Getty
The progress made by pupils in catching up after the first lockdown was wiped out after schools were closed again in the new year, according to a study released by the Department for Education.
In findings that will reignite calls for Boris Johnson to release more school recovery funding, an analysis has found that by March this year primary school children had fallen three and a half months behind for maths and 2.2 months behind in reading.
The research, published by the Education Policy Institute, showed primary aged pupils were effectively as far behind as they were on returning to school in the autumn, having spent months at home following the first wave of coronavirus.
This initial setback had been partially reversed during the second half of the first term, with the average lost learning in maths falling to 2.7 months in maths and 1.2 months in reading.
But these gains were undone after January, when Mr Johnson was forced to close schools again when he plunged the country back into a third lockdown.
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the Prime Minister’s levelling up agenda, the analysis showed that average learning losses for disadvantaged pupils on returning after the first lockdown stood at 4.3 months for maths and 2 months for reading.
There was also evidence of disparities across the country, with regions such as Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East and the East Midlands seeing higher levels of learning loss than pupils in London and the South West.
Last night Whitehall sources said the findings showed that intervention had helped “hold the line”, with pupils not sinking further behind than after the first wave, despite schools being shuttered again.
They also pointed to the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s decision to require a minimum amount of home learning, adding that the Government’s 1bn cash injection to fund one to one and small group tutoring would help students recover faster.
While Sir Kevan had called for a 15bn rescue package, which would have included extending the school day, ministers opted for a smaller 1.4bn cash injection following resistance from the Treasury.
Mr Johnson has now promised that more funding will be coming “down the track”, but the issue is not expected to be settled until the next spending review in several months time. Speaking at a G7 meeting in London on Friday, Mr Sunak added that the world had “high expectations” for what could be agreed by the finance ministers over the two day summit. The incident involved a boat of migrants which had been zig zagging between UK and French waters in the Channel last Saturday when the Border Force cutter Valiant intervened. It went into French waters and “rescued” the migrants even though they were not in trouble but had been travelling at a “slow” pace. During a maritime radio conversation, a
The government is “drawing up other options” before making a decision on whether to completely lift COVID restrictions on 21 June. A government figure has told Sky News that Number 10 was still planning to go ahead with the final step in the roadmap, but is waiting for more data before taking any decisions.