ASCL responds to IFS report on home learning experiences

06/09/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, commenting on the report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies on home learning experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. 
 
Commenting on the report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies on home learning experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“Schools and colleges were given 48 hours’ notice at the beginning of the first coronavirus lockdown to develop and deliver remote education for more than eight million children and young people – something which had never been done before.
 
“They did an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances and at great speed to provide this form of learning. Many of these young people did not have laptops available for them to use or stable internet connections, or a suitable space in which to work at home. In many cases, parents were unable to support their children’s learning as much as they would have liked because of work and caring commitments. These pressures particularly affected disadvantaged young people.
 
“Over the course of the pandemic, the quality of remote education has improved through increased experience of delivering this type of learning and the availability of more resources such as laptops. But it can never be an adequate substitute for the interaction of learning in a classroom environment and the first step towards sustained recovery must be an end to the continual disruption of the past 18 months.
 
“The government must keep the situation with coronavirus rates under close review in the autumn term and be ready to provide more support to schools and colleges if this proves necessary. It must also provide an education recovery programme backed with more investment and with a wider scope than tuition programmes. This study shows that the poorest families were the least likely to accept an offer of catch-up tutoring, and this clearly shows that the government must give schools and colleges greater flexibility about how they use recovery funding to deliver support based on their knowledge of the needs of their pupils.”