Rising Inequalities in Learning
One of the major consequences becoming clear from this period of lockdown is how social inequalities are being amplified.
A recent survey for the UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies has found children from better-off households are spending 30% more time each day on educational activities in lockdown than children from the poorest one-fifth. We know from our experience at Westminster City School and Grey Coat Hospital that not all students have access to laptops or tablets, and without access to a learning device, adequate internet or a quiet learning space in the home environment, these students will face significant loss of learning time.
As another recent research survey by The Sutton Trust reveals, the quality of student learning and productivity is varying widely under lockdown: 24% of teachers surveyed say that fewer than 1 in 4 children in their class are returning work they have been set, whereas 50% of teachers in private schools report they’re receiving more than three quarters of work back. This inequality around student learning is of grave concern as it may lead to a permanent learning gap between students in the same classroom, driven not by effort or merit, but simply due to differing levels of income.