The youngest children have been most affected by lockdowns and school closures during the Covid pandemic, with new research finding that the educational progress and social development of four and five year-olds suffered severely during their first year at school. The Guardian has more.
Aggressive behaviour such as biting and hitting, feelings of struggling in class or being overwhelmed around large groups of children were among the difficulties reported by teachers during interviews.
Claudine Bowyer-Crane, of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, said the findings were worrying: “Not only does it suggest that children who started reception in 2020 are struggling in the specific learning areas of literacy and maths but also that a smaller proportion of these children are achieving a good level of development.”
The research – published by the Education Endowment Foundation – found parents and teachers concerned that children in England were struggling with their emotional wellbeing as well as their ability to learn language and numeracy skills, after starting in reception classes after the earlier spring lockdown.
“For many children the experience of lockdown was made harder by cramped living conditions, no access to green spaces, parental mental health difficulties and financial hardship. On starting school, they had to contend with the disruption caused by COVID-19 restrictions only to then go back into another lockdown after just one term of schooling,” the researchers concluded.