Learning Recovery in Yorkshire and the Humber

Jennie Harland, Lydia Fletcher, Chris Morton, Pippa Lord and Ben Styles

06 April 2022

This research, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and  commissioned by White Rose Maths (WRM), explored evidence of a wider Covid-19 attainment gap in schools in Yorkshire and the Humber region, and aimed to understand the challenges faced by schools and how learning recovery in the region can best be supported.

The study involved a senior leader and subject leader survey and a review of existing evidence on the Covid-19 attainment gap and regional factors that may underpin any variation.

Key Findings

  • Compared to some regions, schools in Yorkshire and the Humber faced additional challenges during the pandemic (along with other Northern regions) that may have contributed to a wider Covid-19 attainment gap: higher pupil wellbeing and mental health needs; more challenging home-learning environments; higher rates of Covid-19 contributing to pupil and staff absence when schools reopened.
  • Teaching and learning during school closures in Yorkshire and the Humber was broadly similar to other regions, with several exceptions, particularly during the first school closures (March – June 2020) with perceptions of: lower pupil access to technology; less senior leader direction on the amount of home learning to set; lower use of live or pre-recorded lessons and online conversations with pupils; and lower pupil and parent engagement with learning.
  • Schools in Yorkshire and the Humber are making progress reducing the Covid-19 attainment gap and are prioritising recovery strategies focusing on wellbeing and mental health and additional small group and one-to-one support.
  • Schools’ most pressing needs for support to aid pupils’ learning recovery further are: funding; support from specialist services/providers; additional teaching/support staff; support for pupils’ mental health; flexibility and autonomy over how to spend available funding; and evidence of what works in supporting pupils’ learning recovery.