27th January 2021

EPI response to the Prime Minister’s Commons statement on schools

Responding to the new plans for schools to return from 8th March at the earliest, Natalie Perera, Chief Executive of the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said:

“An additional period of schools lockdown may be needed to control the virus, but we also have to acknowledge that it will do further damage to education outcomes and widen the gap between more vulnerable children and those with better access to online learning and home support.

“The learning loss we are now experiencing will undermine social mobility and damage future economic growth and productivity.

“The government is right to look at introducing further catch-up support, but we need to see a multi-year, long-term programme to support academic work in school, and to help with the growing challenge of child mental health and wellbeing.  Additional financial support should be heavily focused on the most disadvantaged and vulnerable learners, who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

“As soon as it’s safe to do so, children need to be back in school, and this should happen well ahead of plans to re-open parts of the economy, such as pubs, restaurants and non- essential retail.”