Impact of KS1 school closures on later attainment and social skills: a longitudinal study (pupils currently in Years 4 and 5, 2023/24)

 School Privacy Notice
 Parent Privacy Notice

What is the research project?

This research project, now in its fourth year, is the continuation of a National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) project, 'Impact of Key Stage 1 school closures on later attainment and social skills (a longitudinal study)’, which ran in the last three academic years. The study has been extended for a further three academic years (until 2025/26). It will follow pupils who were in Key Stage 1 in 2020/21 and investigate the impact of school closures, looking at pupil attainment, school practices and teachers' perspectives on pupils’ social skills as pupils progress through primary school. This academic year (2023/24) will focus on pupils in Year 4 and Year 5.

By following the same pupils as they move through the school system, this longitudinal study will continue to explore the impact of the Covid-19 related school closures on the attainment gap of those pupils who were in Key Stage 1 (KS1) during the 2020/21 academic year, and the impact of school closures on their ongoing socio-emotional development. This study will also explore how quickly children reach where they might be expected to be had the pandemic not happened.

Who is conducting the study?

NFER has been commissioned to carry out this research by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). The study has been commissioned to the end of primary school (2025/26).

Which schools can take part?

All schools who took part in the project at any point in any of the 2020/21, 2021/22, 2022/23 academic years, (with the exception of infant only schools).

What will the project involve for teachers, schools and pupils?

We will ask schools to test pupils in the spring term, using NFER assessments in mathematics and reading. NFER will provide schools with the assessments for their Year 4 and Year 5 pupils. NFER will arrange to collect and mark the assessments and will share pupil outcomes with schools, along with the test papers, once marking is complete.

In addition to these assessments, in the spring term of 2024 the headteacher or KS2 lead will be requested to complete a school-level survey on their approach to on-going support and recovery activities, such as small-group work, tutoring and parental engagement. Teachers will also need to complete one survey in the spring term, on the socio-emotional development for a subsample of 12 pupils per year group.

When will the assessments take place?

Schools will be asked to test their Year 4 and Year 5 pupils during March 2024. You will receive your assessments after the February half term and complete them before the start of the Easter break. Schools will then be asked to send their assessments to NFER before the Easter break.


NFER will share the most recent information we hold about pupils collected during the project with schools via the secure school portal. Schools will be asked to check and confirm this data, identify pupils who have left the school and add data for any pupils new to Years 4 and 5. This will include names of pupils, dates of birth and UPNs. We will ask you to provide FSM details for pupils.

For schools who are returning to the study after a break last academic year (2022/23), we will ask you to provide pupil level data for those pupils in Years 4 and 5. This data will then be matched to any assessment and social skills survey data we hold for pupils participating again this year (2023/24).

What will my school need to do?



November 2023

Schools confirm school contact for this year and sign an online Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

November/December 2023

Schools check and confirm pupil data for their Year 4 and 5 pupils

February 2024

NFER sends Year 4 and Year 5 assessments to schools.

March 2024

School questionnaire and social skills survey links shared with schools.

Schools sit Year 4 and Year 5 spring assessments.

NFER collect assessments and mark.

Schools continue to complete questionnaire and social skills survey.

March – May 2024

Note - Dates dependent on when we receive the tests for marking

NFER shares pupil results with schools and returns test papers.

This will include item level data for the assessments. These results can be used to inform the school’s understanding of where pupils may need support and their strengths and weaknesses across different areas of the curriculum.


A link to the evaluation report for 2023/24 and school feedback document will be sent to schools on publication. The study will continue to report each year on children’s learning recovery, with a report also planned for 2024/25 and a final report in 2025/26.

What benefits will my school receive?

All schools will receive complimentary mathematics and reading assessments for the year groups participating in the project and these assessments will also be marked by NFER staff. In addition, schools will receive a 10 per cent discount off the purchase of NFER assessments on any two year-groups worth of assessments. These can be purchased between April and December 2024, once NFER has received assessments from schools as well as all completed surveys.

How will the findings be used?

The findings from the study provide evidence of the impact on the attainment and socio-emotional skills of the youngest school age children affected by the disruption to education during the pandemic. The study will report, each year, on how quickly these children recover their learning and are able to reach where they might be expected to be had the pandemic not happened. This series of reports will be available to primary schools to assist and develop their support of their pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Previous reports can be found here.

What happens if a school, teacher, or pupils want to withdraw from the research project?

A school, teacher or pupil can withdraw from the research project and/or from their data being used in the research project at any time. Schools must notify NFER of any pupils or teachers who wish to withdraw from the project.

Parents can choose to withdraw their child from the data collection of the research project at any time. They can do this by returning the form on the bottom of the parent letter to their school. Schools must not provide data about children whose parents withdraw them from the data collection. If the withdrawal takes place after the study commences, schools must notify NFER of such pupils, and these pupils will be removed from the project’s datasets and subsequent analysis immediately.

How will NFER use and protect the data collected?

All data gathered during the research project will be held in accordance with the data protection framework set out in UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018. It will be treated in the strictest confidence by NFER. No pupil-level data will be shared with the EEF.

All teacher and pupil-level data shared by schools with NFER will be done so via a secure school portal. For the purposes of the research project, all pupils will have an ID number. No school, teacher or pupil will be named in any report arising from this work.

A School Privacy Notice for the research project is available  here.

A Parent Privacy Notice for the research project is available  here and should be shared with parents prior to data collection.

Who can I contact for more information?

For further information, please contact Jo Stringer via email at [email protected].