Two-thirds of teachers believe lockdown has widened attainment gap for disadvantaged students

Over a third also felt their institution was not prepared to monitor attainment disparities when schools reopened in June

Research from Renaissance has revealed that 63% of UK headteachers and school leaders believe lockdown has worsened the attainment gap for disadvantaged students, with 33% also stating that their school was not prepared to measure and act on differences in attainment when schools reopened in June.

Drawing on insights from almost 450 headteachers and department leaders, researchers asked respondents to describe their observations and experiences of analysing and combatting the growing attainment gap in UK schools post-lockdown.

As an educational software company, Renaissance firmly believes teachers should be able to identify the impact of learning loss caused by this year’s school closures, allowing them to make informed decisions on how best to support pupils in their race to catch up, predominantly by prioritising the most important skills.

The digital divide disproportionately affects the most disadvantaged learners, with issues such as poor internet connection and a lack of suitable devices meaning they have missed out on a considerable portion of their education – which has been delivered remotely – in the months since March.

According to the study, teachers’ most popular means to measure the attainment gap include: teacher assessment (84%), regular assessment (71%) and end-of-term/end-of-year assessment (50%).

“COVID has meant that children have lost several months of critical learning time,” said Natalie Perera, executive director of the EPI. “For the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, the impact of lost learning time is likely to be greater. We are pleased to work alongside Renaissance on this project.

“By developing a greater understanding of the impact of COVID-related disruptions on learning, and the teaching methods which support pupils to catch up, we will be better placed to identify strategies and interventions to mitigate against the impact of lost learning in cases of further or prolonged school closures.”

In other news: Uni of Sunderland launches project to provide online schooling for isolating children of staff


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