The impact of coronavirus on children’s education

30 September 2020

On Wednesday 30th September, Dr Angela Donkin, NFER’s Chief Social Scientist, appeared as a witness in front of the House of Commons Women & Equalities Select Committee to give evidence on the impact of coronavirus on children’s education. Angela appeared alongside Anne Longfield OBE, the Children’s Commissioner, Ruth Davies, President of the National Association of Head Teachers, and Dr Halima Begum, Director at Runnymede Trust.

Members of the Committee comprised of Members of Parliament from the Conservative Party, Labour Party and Scottish National Party. Each member of the Committee had an opportunity to question the four witnesses on key issues including the impact on education for children from different ethnic groups, the impact on exam grades for children from different backgrounds, the differences between boys and girls, and possible solutions to the issues raised.

Angela highlighted key findings from NFER’s research into the impact of Covid-19 on education, which particularly interested members of the Committee. Findings including the intensive catch-up needed, where teachers highlighted that 44% of all children needed intensive catch-up in comparison to 56% of children from BAME backgrounds, demonstrated to the Committee the concerning ethnic disparities of learning loss. Angela added that on average, pupils were three months behind in their learning. However, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds were likely to be four months behind, and the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children increased this year by about half.

The full evidence session can be viewed here.