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Pupils: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 119824, tabled on 7 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of children’s ability to catch up with learning missed during the outbreak of covid-19 on children's mental health.

Answered on

10 February 2022

Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 disruption on the attainment and progress of all students is a key research priority for the government. The department has commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to provide a baseline assessment of catch-up needs for pupils in schools in England and monitor progress over the course of the 2020/21 academic year. The department’s latest evidence suggests that, in summer 2021, primary pupils were on average around 1 month behind in reading and around 3 months behind in maths compared to where the department would expect them to be in a ‘normal year’. Secondary pupils were behind in their learning in reading by around 2 months.

The department is also examining the evidence on mental health wellbeing. The department's third annual state of the nation report, published on 8 February, identifies trends in children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing recovery over the course of the 2020/21 academic year, as well as their views about society and the future. The findings show that overall, children’s wellbeing has remained largely stable across previous years although increasing virus prevalence rates and changing restrictions have coincided with fluctuation in levels of wellbeing throughout the period covered by the report.

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