The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated existing educational inequalities worldwide. Modelling of the impact of school closures in England suggests that ten years’ worth of efforts to close the attainment gap may have been reversed by the recent closure of schools. Similarly, assessments of Year 7 pupils in England in September 2020 found that they were on average 22 months behind expected levels of attainment. It is likely that the impacts on Welsh pupils will be of a similar scale.
In response to the impact of the pandemic on education, the Welsh Government has developed the Recruit, Recover, Raise Standards programme, through which it is providing funding to schools to grow capacity to support learners, particularly those who have been most affected by school closures.
The success of this approach will be affected by (among other things):
In light of this, the WCPP will be producing policy briefs on each of these three topics, with the aim of ensuring that Welsh Government’s efforts to support the education system to respond to the challenges post by the Coronavirus pandemic are informed by the best available evidence and expertise related to these three priorities.
To develop and support implementation of the findings in practice in Wales, as well as to explore how interventions identified in the reviews would interact with current and planned policy and practice, the WCPP will also conduct a small number of workshops with regional consortia leads and possibly with school leaders to discuss the policy briefs’ findings in the context of schools in Wales, as well as current and planned policy interventions.
You can also hear Becki Bawler and Harry Fletcher-Wood talk to Manon Roberts on our podcast PEP Talk about the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic to the education system in Wales. In it they offer insight into the ways in which the Welsh Government and broader education system could seek to respond; with a particular focus on blended teaching and learning, and teacher professional development.