This is a deeply concerning and uncertain time for everyone in education and across wider society. The decision to close schools and cancel public examinations was an unprecedented step, although a necessity to help control this devastating outbreak.
The effect of this period on the outcomes of children and young people will take time to fully evaluate. Nevertheless, we must be prepared for the significant impact that school closures – and the economic and social impacts of lockdown – will have on the most disadvantaged pupils and students. We must work tirelessly over the coming months and years to understand and address the full extent of this pandemic on education and communities, with a focus on where additional support needs to be targeted.
Despite the challenges that are currently being faced, I have felt an enormous sense of pride in how school and system leaders, teachers and support staff – many of whom I am privileged to know personally – have responded to this adversity. The way you have supported children, inside and outside school, and ensured those who are highly vulnerable remain protected should never be forgotten when we are able to reflect on this period.
We are always extremely grateful to schools who participate in our research and your support in the future will be more important than ever to help us understand the response that needs to be taken. NFER will be doing everything we can over the coming weeks and months to provide valuable insights and resources within the context of Covid-19 to help the education system recover.
I hope that you, your family and those close to you stay safe during this difficult time.
Carole Willis, CEO at NFER