New report shows the impact of the pandemic on children

Education endowment foundation logo EEFA report published by the Education Endowment Fund has revealed that repeated lockdowns in 2020 had a very damaging effect and the educational progress and social development of children in their first year of school.

Finds from the report reveal that the only 59% of children were reaching the expected levels in communication and language, physical development, literacy, mathematics, and personal, social and emotional development in 2021. Compared to 72% for the 2019 cohort.

This drop in development is the equivalent of an extra three children in every classroom not meeting the expected levels by the end of the school year.

Part of the research included a survey of schools, which found that over three quarters (76%) reported that they needed more support than those starting school before the pandemic, falling to just over half (56%) by the end of the school year.

Jonathan Broadbery, NDNA’s Director of Policy and Communications, said in response: “Throughout the pandemic, staff in early years settings worked incredibly hard giving children as much normality as possible.

“But we see the results in this report of a cohort of young learners being massively impacted by lockdowns and restrictions, both in terms of their personal, social and emotional development as well as concerns about language acquisition and communication skills.

“We have been saying throughout this hugely disruptive period that nurseries and early years settings need additional support especially funding so they can deliver the high quality care and learning opportunities these children badly need.

“Although the government gave catch-up funding to schools, they did not make any additional support available for our youngest children at their time of need. Despite the best efforts of dedicated early years practitioners, we’re now seeing the impact of that lack of investment which will likely mean that more money will need to be spent on their schooling.

“NDNA warned the government about the risks of a lost generation of learners and this is sadly what we are seeing.”

Claudine Bowyer-Crane, of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research who conducted the research alongside the Educational Policy Institute and the University of York, said the findings were worrying: “Not only does it suggest that children who started reception in 2020 are struggling in the specific learning areas of literacy and maths but also that a smaller proportion of these children are achieving a good level of development.”

You can read the full report here

  • England

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