Commenting on a report by the Nuffield Foundation on the quality of home learning in England over the course of the pandemic, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“This report demonstrates the innovation and determination of education staff to improve online provision throughout an extraordinary academic year. It shows that this academic year cannot be approached as a normal year, and we should not ignore the learning time that young people missed nor the valuable play and sporting experiences which are so important to school life. Teachers need extra flexibility to target support at individual students and more time to work with groups who need additional help with some subjects. This requires more teachers and more support staff.
“Currently, funding in disadvantaged areas is not sufficient to allow schools to provide a tailored response to extra gaps in learning. We can't leave schools in high-poverty areas without the education recovery funding they need. It's not the time for support staff to be let go but that's what we're seeing in many areas, just as young children need the transformational support those adults can give.
“Many parents understand how much learning has been lost and are worried. We know that parents want to see a proper response by Government to give schools and colleges the right tools for recovery - time, funding, more staff and fair expectations for staff and students. The Government's failure to heed the advice of Sir Kevan Collins, funding just a fraction of what is needed, will not have gone unnoticed by parents. This report highlights the need for a multi-year, comprehensive and resourced plan for education recovery which should de designed to tackle the inequalities which have widened as a result of the pandemic.”