To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of remote learning on the attainment gap between students at state and private schools.
22 March 2021
School and college teachers and leaders have made tremendous efforts to provide high-quality remote education to pupils and students throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
During the period of national restrictions, all primary schools, secondary schools and further education colleges in England were expected to provide remote education for the majority of their pupils and students. From 8 March 2021, schools affected by the remote education temporary continuity direction are still required to provide remote education for pupils where their attendance would be contrary to government guidance or legislation around COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remote-education-temporary-continuity-direction-explanatory-note. This includes, for example, where such guidance means that a class, group, or small number of pupils need to self-isolate or that clinically extremely vulnerable children need to shield.
Independent schools (not including academies) are not all covered by the remote education temporary continuity direction, however they have been expected to meet the Independent School Standards in full at all times. This includes the requirement to meet all of the education requirements set out in part 1 of the Independent School Standards.
We have commissioned an independent research and assessment agency (Renaissance Learning) to provide a baseline assessment of catch-up needs for pupils in schools in England and monitor progress over the course of the year to help us target support across the system.
The department’s research on lost education has produced interim findings based on more than 400,000 Renaissance Learning reading and maths assessments taken in the first autumn half-term of 2020-21, published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupils-progress-in-the-2020-to-2021-academic-year-interim-report.
The research shows that, in autumn 2020, pupils in years 3 to 9 were between 1.6 and 2 months behind their expected level in reading, and pupils in years 3 to 7 were around 3 months behind their expected level in maths, underlining the need for the targeted support announced. The study does not analyse differences in independent school pupils’ and state school pupils’ attainment.
The government is committed to helping all children and young people make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. As an immediate step, we have made available £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery for pupils across early years settings, schools and colleges.
We have also appointed Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on the approach of education recovery and the development of a long-term plan to help pupils make up their education over the course of this Parliament.