Express & Star

Star comment: Helping children catch up on Covid-disrupted learning should be an emergency

Young people who have been through the pandemic will in future become known as The Covid Children.

Some children have struggled to make up for disrupted learning during the pandemic

They are a generation that were held back by a virus that brought society to a standstill and had a devastating impact on their education.

Of course most children are fairly robust and many have bounced back from the pandemic without too much trouble, catching up on studies and getting back into their old school routine.

But evidence is mounting that the Covid pandemic has had a profound impact on some. The Commons Public Accounts Committee this week said it is “alarming” that it may take a decade for the gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and others to return to pre-pandemic levels. And today another survey reveals how attention and behaviour has deteriorated markedly since the pandemic.

The Government says it has taken action, with the offer of extra tutoring help. But this should be treated as an emergency that needs further action. Headteachers should be helped with the resources they need to ensure a higher ratio of teacher-students in state schools.

More attention should be given to the mental health of children post-Covid. This will cost extra, but it is worthwhile investment. Today’s student will become our leaders of the future and we cannot afford a damaged generation.

In recent memory, Government’s listed their priorities as Education, Education, and Education. Today, the topic gets barely a mention in the news as the domestic agenda falls away from the priority list. There are serious issues in respect of education, with too many people being unable to catch up.