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Archive for the 'COVID-19 and education' Category

Schools’ varied Covid stories make sitting the Phonics Test meaningless

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 November 2021

Alice Bradbury and Gemma Moss.

This autumn term, for the second year running, the Phonics Screening Check (PSC) will be taking place in Year 2 classrooms for all pupils, rather than the usual system of testing everyone at the end of Year 1. The Covid crisis led to the suspension of all statutory testing in the summer of 2021 and no other assessments have been moved, only the PSC. This means that Year 2 pupils who have missed out on months of classroom time last year will be taken out of their classrooms this term, to test their phonics decoding skills by asking them to read aloud 40 words and pseudo-words.

The PSC is intended to monitor the quality of phonics teaching in the school as well as to provide information on individuals for teachers. This year’s use of the test, however, will be meaningless unless local circumstances are taken into account, because the pandemic has affected schools in such a variety of ways. Our IOE research found that schools reacted in complex and thoughtful ways to the impacts of Covid on their communities, taking into account circumstances that made home learning difficult for pupils; each school has its own ‘Covid story’.

Varied local circumstances meant children had a wide range of needs, including insufficient food or heating for (more…)

The 2021 Autumn Budget and Spending Review: what does it mean for educational inequalities?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital29 October 2021

 Claire Crawford, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities.

The pandemic has disrupted life for everyone, but children and young people have seen perhaps the biggest changes to their day-to-day lives, with long periods spent away from school and their friends leading to significant rises in mental health difficulties and a substantial reduction in learning. Moreover, these challenges have not been felt equally: the evidence suggests that the pandemic has also led to a rise in inequalities between children from different socio-economic backgrounds, from the early years through to secondary school and beyond.

A budget and multi-year spending review delivered against a backdrop of the highest peace-time borrowing levels ever, and by a chancellor on a ‘moral’ mission to limit the size of the state, was unlikely to deliver the sort of investments in education that Sir Kevan Collins hoped to see when he took the role of ‘catch-up tsar’ earlier this year. But what did it deliver for education? And is it likely to help roll back the rises in educational inequalities that the pandemic has generated? (more…)

Early childhood: the changing face of parent-practitioner relations during the pandemic

Blog Editor, IOE Digital28 October 2021

finelightarts / Pixabay

Rachel Benchekroun and Claire Cameron.

Lockdowns and other restrictions in England and around the world since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic have transformed the way parents and early childhood practitioners communicate. This is having significant implications for children’s development, learning and wellbeing.

Two linked studies at the UCL Social Research Institute examining environmental changes for children, parents and practitioners, in England, New Zealand, Senegal and Italy have been uncovering the multi-faceted and evolving roles of early childhood provision in supporting children and families.

Through interviews with practitioners and parents from a top-rated early childhood setting in a disadvantaged neighbourhood of London, we were able to identify shifts in the way communication took place during lockdown. Practitioners provided support to families through weekly phone calls to parents, Zoom calls to engage with the children and sharing ideas for activities at home on the ‘parent app’. One practitioner explained: (more…)

Living and learning during a pandemic: what can children tell us?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 October 2021

Yana Manyukhina.

Researcher: why did you want to take part in this interview?

Child: “Because nobody had listened to children”

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us important lessons about school education that we should never forget in a post-pandemic world. We have come to appreciate, as never before, the significance of teacher support, interactions with peers, and positive family environments for children’s learning and wellbeing. At the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0-11 years) (HHCP), we have also become acutely sensitive to children’s voice and its importance in research. We know we cannot fully understand how to help children succeed at school unless we ask, and listen to, children.

Our Living and Learning during a Pandemic study spanning the autumn term of 2020 was designed to do just that – talk and listen to children. Conducted after the reopening of schools following the first national lockdown, the project aimed to offer young children an opportunity to share their experiences and feelings (more…)

Biometrics in schools – Big Brother technology or an opportunity for human flourishing?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 October 2021

Sandra Leaton Gray.

Twenty-first Century schools can be complex places to manage and attend. Schools have grown in size substantially over the last couple of generations, and now need complicated systems of control and regulation. The Biometrics Institute Congress is going to be discussing biometrics, artificial intelligence and privacy on 13 October, and for the first time this will include their impact on education.

One of the primary issues for governing bodies and local education authorities is reconciling a need for bureaucratic efficiency whilst acting in loco parentis – ensuring that the children in their care are where they should be, engaged in appropriate activities at the right time, and being fed at appropriate intervals. Developers have sought to support schools (and monetise solutions to any number of management problems) through digital products, for example for attendance monitoring, assessment, accounting and auditing.

It is within this commercial framework that we find biometrics proliferating, and with it, associated (more…)

Do Key Stage 2 tests negatively affect children’s wellbeing?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital24 September 2021

John Jerrim.

Over the last couple of years, Key Stage 2 tests have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They are, however, due to come back with a vengeance in 2022 – most likely to the delight of some, but to the despair of others.

The return of the Key Stage 2 tests is likely to be met with renewed accusations that they cause children a huge amount of stress along with calls from organisations such as More Than a Score that they should be scrapped.

But is there really good evidence that the Key Stage 2 tests negatively affect children’s wellbeing? Actually, the existing quantitative evidence on this matter remains pretty scant.

In my new paper published today I hence undertake (more…)

Universities: learning outside the lecture hall

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 September 2021

Allison Littlejohn.

Lockdown led to the largest transformation of teaching in the history of UK higher education. In March 2020, the entire university workforce had to transition to working online. This was remarkable transformation for institutions that, founded on tradition and convention, tend to be slow to change.  As the 2021-22 academic year begins, record numbers of UK students are about to enter our universities once again.

National reports suggest that both students and staff found the lack of face-to-face learning and social interactions over the past year or so difficult. Enforced isolation during lockdown had an impact on student mental health, while students’ representatives have run campaigns questioning the value of online education under lockdown conditions and called for a refund on student fees. They have been arguing for a return to face-to-face lectures and on-campus social activities.

As for staff, our study of the experiences of university staff as they moved to online teaching during lockdown found that academics, especially those with little prior experience of digital education, had to invest considerable extra time redesigning courses, recording lectures and connecting with students to provide (more…)

We’re in the same storm but not the same boat’: lessons for the future from our FE Rapid Evidence Review

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 September 2021

Ken Spours and Paul Grainger.

‘There will be a K-shaped recovery with winners and losers: we are all in the same storm but not in the same boat.’ (FE college leader)

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event in the globalised world. In terms of a health emergency, there has been nothing on this scale since the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919 – and we now live in a much more connected world, of course, that is also experiencing an even greater threat from the climate emergency.

The pandemic bears all the symptoms of a wicked problem, due to our incomplete knowledge of its effects and interdependencies as it impacts on a vulnerable Further Education (FE) sector. The UK’s FE colleges include provision for the more deprived sections of the community, and specialise in preparing young people for working life. Both aspects have (more…)

Covid-19: how youth unemployment is taking on worrying new patterns

Blog Editor, IOE Digital5 August 2021

Hans Dietrich, Golo Henseke, Juliane Achatz, Silke Anger, Bernhard Christoph, Alexander Patzina.

Despite economic and institutional differences between the two countries, youth unemployment figures in both the UK and Germany rose during the Covid-19 pandemic and reached a peak in August 2020. Since then, they have generally gone down in both countries. Three aspects are important in this regard: the total number of unemployed youth, the pattern of how young people enter into unemployment, and the length of time they remain unemployed. Our new analysis shows that not only have more young people lost their jobs, they have also spent more time out of work. Despite these similar patterns, youth unemployment in the UK has remained consistently higher than in Germany.

This two-country analysis is part of a broader European perspective.

The development of youth unemployment during the Covid-19 pandemic

After the 2008 recession, the number of young unemployed in the European Union and most member states fell from 2013 to 2019. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic (more…)

Ready for work? UK youth ambitious but uncertain about their future careers

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 July 2021

Ingrid Schoon, Golo Henseke.

What are the career expectations of young people aged 16-25 in the current climate of economic uncertainty – and how do schools prepare them for the transition into the labour market in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic? These questions are examined in a new report out today (July 21). The report is part of a large-scale project to track youth employment, learning, career development and wellbeing during the pandemic in the UK and abroad.

Career expectations

Based on data collected in March and again in May 2021 from a representative sample of 1,542 16 to 25-year-olds in Britain we find that young people have ambitious educational and occupational goals, although there are high levels of uncertainty about future careers.

Young people who had formal career preparation, such as (more…)