The Prime Minister declared at the beginning of January that all schools in England would close for a minimum period of six weeks, as the virus continues to spread rapidly throughout the country. This required all schools to return to remote learning (apart from vulnerable pupils and children of key workers).
This disruption follows an autumn term in which many schools experienced partial closures, with many pupils already having to learn remotely. Throughout this term, secondary school attendance averaged 80-85%, with some areas seeing attendance as low as 25% just before Christmas.
The social mobility impacts of school closures are widely documented. EPI research has shown that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with low-prior attainment are more likely to have missed out on time in the classroom in 2020. These pupils may have been more dependent on remote provision.
While the Department for Education has taken several steps to improve the quality of remote provision, including on device and internet access, many pupils continue to have varied access to equipment and resources to support learning in the home environment.
This virtual EPI panel discussion will explore the government’s plans for the delivery of high-quality remote education and discuss how schools can adapt and evolve their own responses. It follows a successful event held by EPI in November on digital learning lessons for leadership.
Attendees will hear from a number of prominent education leaders and policymakers.
We’re delighted to confirm that Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson will be delivering a key address on the government’s plans to support pupils’ digital learning during the period of school closures and beyond.
Full list of event speakers: Rt Hon. Gavin Williamson MP (Secretary of State for Education); Dame Rachel de Souza, (CEO, Inspiration Trust and incoming Children’s Commissioner); Emma Stace, (Director of Digital and Transformation, Department for Education); Steve Rollett (Deputy CEO, Confederation of School Trusts); Gill Jones (Deputy Director for Schools and Early Education, Ofsted); Evelyn Forde (Headteacher, Copthall School – Headteacher of the Year, 2020); Graham Quinn (CEO, The New Bridge Trust); Rob Carpenter (CEO, Inspire Partnership).
The event will be chaired by EPI Executive Chairman, David Laws.