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A Covid generation: who are the winners and losers of a disrupted school year?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 January 2021

PIRO4D / Pixabay

Melanie Ehren, Martijn Meeter and Anne Fleur Kortekaas.

The term ‘Covid generation’ has become the new buzz word to refer to children and adolescents under 20 who are affected by school closures and other disruptions.

A report by UNICEF estimates that globally, more than 570 million students – 33 per cent of all enrolled students worldwide –were affected by country-wide school closures in 30 nations as of November 2020. They will have had varying access to remote and online teaching during these closures, and many students from disadvantaged backgrounds will have had little to no learning.

Some believe the lost learning of this generation will have a detrimental effect on the rest of their school and employment careers. This phenomenon is called the ‘Matthew effect’, after the Evangelist’s saying that “For whoever has, to him shall be given […] but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has”: (more…)

When a pandemic causes school closures it has wide-ranging impacts beyond public health: our logic model can help in decision-making

Blog Editor, IOE Digital13 May 2020

James Thomas, Alison O’Mara-EvesDylan Kneale and Rebecca Rees.

The closure of schools has been a recommended intervention in response to pandemics because of its potential for reducing the transmission of infection among children, school staff, and those they contact. Previous evidence has shown that closing schools can have the intended effect of reducing infection rates, although factors such as the timing and length of the closures are likely to be important.

The current crisis, however, has highlighted that existing evidence and debates are insufficient. They have been largely focused on the impacts on transmission and health services, with less consideration of other downstream effects.

That is why a group of social scientists has come together to explore all possible outcomes. Here we describe our approach to presenting a logical way to consider the impact of school closures on individuals, families, education and health systems, and the broader economy. This is covered in detail in our paper published today by F1000Research and we now seek feedbackon this systems-based logic model.

(more…)

GCSEs are cancelled. Here’s what the government should do

Blog Editor, IOE Digital19 March 2020

John Jerrim.

Yesterday, the DfE took the extraordinary step of cancelling GCSE exams. this will mean that some children will suffer the consequences throughout their lifetime.

This is obviously a very tricky situation, and any solution the government comes up with will be less than  perfect.

But, in my view, one clear option is the winner. Children in the 2019/20 cohort should be award GCSEs based upon their predicted grades.

This has the obvious advantage of being relatively cheap, quick and easy to do. It is also (arguably) unlikely to be less fair than the alternatives.

(more…)