ASCL comment on Sutton Trust’s ‘learning in lockdown’ report

21/01/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Sutton Trust’s report, ‘Learning in Lockdown’.
 
Commenting on the Sutton Trust’s report, ‘Learning in Lockdown’, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“Schools have worked incredibly hard to develop remote education and are in a completely different place than they were during the first lockdown when they had to suddenly provide remote learning for millions of children from scratch. This research from the Sutton Trust shows the enormous progress that has been made since then.
 
“However, remote education is simply not a substitute for classroom teaching because of problems such as how much time parents have available to help their children, and lack of access to laptops. Often it is the most disadvantaged children who are further disadvantaged.
 
“It is pretty clear from this research that there are still significant gaps in laptop provision despite the government’s programme to provide devices to disadvantaged youngsters. The government was too slow to respond to this issue earlier in the crisis, and we are not sure it has ever really got to grips with the level of need. It has also been very poor on supporting schools and colleges financially, handing out catch-up money with one hand, while refusing to reimburse them for coronavirus safety measures on the other hand.
 
“It must now live up to its refrain that education is a national priority by providing additional investment to schools and colleges to help support children following this latest lockdown.”