Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on research from the Education Endowment Foundation that found four and five-year-olds were less likely to meet the expected levels of development in 2021 than before the pandemic.
“This research adds to the worrying picture of the damage done to our youngest children’s education by the impact of the pandemic. Constant periods of disruption have been very difficult to mitigate for all age groups but especially so for young children because of the difficulty of teaching this age group remotely.
“Schools are working incredibly hard to help children catch-up with lost learning and are making progress according to the EEF’s research. But they have been let down by the government’s recovery programme, which is both inadequately funded and a confusing tangle of different programmes, routes and bureaucracy. It is sadly inevitable that those hardest hit are our very youngest pupils and particularly those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.
“It would have been much better if all the funding had been provided to schools from the outset via a simple funding mechanism. The government simply must do better for all children and young people.”