Schoolwork in lockdown: new evidence on the epidemic of educational poverty

The closure of schools, and their only-partial re-opening, constitute a potential threat to the educational development of a generation of children. Since only a few among key workers’ children have been at school during the pandemic, it is important for policy-makers to understand how much mitigating schoolwork has been taking place in homes across the country. This report uses new, high-quality data undertaken one month into lockdown, to try
to answer that question, and to examine how much support was being given.
It finds that the average amount of schoolwork being done at home, according to parents and family members, has been very low:

  • Children locked down at home in the UK spent an average of only 2.5 hours each day doing schoolwork. This figure is about half that suggested by a previous survey, suggesting that learning losses are much greater than feared.
  • Most homework consisted of assignments, worksheets and watching videos. On average children were given two such pieces of homework a day.
  • The extent of online lessons provision in state schools was minimal: 71 percent of state school children received no or less than one daily online lessons.
    However, as earlier surveys have found, the extent of school provision for homes varied substantially. One fifth of pupils – over two million children — did no schoolwork at home, or less than an hour a day. Only 17 percent put in more than four hours a day . The inequality between regions and social groups was substantial.

    Date Published: 16th June 2020
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