The impact of Covid on mainstream schools and special settings in 2020 and 2021 – Four things learned

Caroline Sharp and Amy Skipp

04 February 2022

This short report summarises the main findings from two national research studies focusing on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mainstream and special education.

Key Findings

  • Almost all pupils lost some learning time during the pandemic, but pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, and those from economically deprived backgrounds, lost out most.
  • Education did not return to normal once schools reopened to all. The periods of partial school closures in 2020 and 2021 were the most disruptive for pupils’ education, but the effects continued once schools opened to all, mainly due to the social distancing and other infection control measures in place at the time.
  • Pupils’ mental health and well-being suffered, as did that of staff and parents.
  • Leaders of special and mainstream schools want the government to support them better in future.

Related Titles

Special schools’ and colleges’ experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic: Summer 2021 The reported effects of the pandemic on pupils in special schools and colleges and what they need now