ASCL comment on EEF research into pandemic impact on key stage 1 pupil attainment

03/12/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the publication by the Education Endowment Foundation of research into the impact of disruption to learning during the pandemic on younger pupils’ reading and maths skills.
 
Commenting on the publication by the Education Endowment Foundation of research into the impact of disruption to learning during the pandemic on younger pupils’ reading and maths skills, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“It comes as little surprise to learn that the very youngest children in our schools have struggled to make progress as a result of the pandemic, nor that the most disadvantaged youngsters have slipped further behind their peers during a period of unprecedented disruption to education.

“Although the EEF’s research shows improvements have since been made in maths for pupils in Years 1 and 2 during the spring and summer terms this year, it is clear that significant effort will be needed to foster the same strides forward in reading development.

“It is encouraging to see from the research that teachers are using their considerable skills and experience to coax and encourage their pupils to make leaps and bounds in their learning.

“Schools’ ability to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic is mainly constrained by the resources available to them and it is vital that their important work with children at the beginning of their educational journey is not shackled by insufficient funding from the government.

“The financial commitments made to date are very welcome but are significantly behind what experts working in education believe is needed. Serious sustained investment from the government will be required if our youngest pupils, and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are to get the support and encouragement they need to recover from the disrupted start to their education they have suffered
.”