Mind the Gap: Educational Inequalities during Covid-19

Lead Research Organisation: University of Essex
Department Name: Inst for Social and Economic Research

Abstract

School closures have affected roughly 10m children and young people across the UK, interrupting their learning and placing considerably more responsibility for educational activities on the home environment than ever before. This is expected to slow the progress of a whole generation of students and to widen gender, socio-economic, and ethnic inequalities. Addressing widening inequalities is essential to avoid undesirable long-term consequences, including negative labour market and health outcomes leading to lower economic productivity, increased health care costs, and reduced social mobility.

This research project will analyse the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on educational outcomes with a view to understanding whether some groups of students have been more negatively affected than others, including by students' gender, socio-economic background and ethnicity. We will consider how the period of school closures has impacted students' learning inputs, comprising investments of time and resources provided by schools, parents, and the students themselves, and how the attainment of year 10 and year 13 students (and higher education participation of A-level students) has been affected by the move to teacher-assessed grades.
 
Description (6th April 2021) Call with Open Innovation Team (Louis Coiffait) to share expert opinion on the education systems' recovery from C19 - how inputs from schools, parents, children interact; university applications (Birgita Rabe)
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description CITATION (26th august 2021): 'Children's well-being during COVID' The Children's Society's: The Good Childhood Report 2021
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/information/professionals/resources/good-childhood-report-2021
 
Description Engaged with the exam board AQA and met with them to share expertise on teacher/centre assessed grades and implications for exam grades in 2021 (BIrgitta Rabe)
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Joined the Interdisciplinary Child Well-Being Network, which aims to bring together academics and non-academics who study the impact of the COVID crisis on children from a wide range of disciplines. (Birgitta Rabe)
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
URL https://icwbn.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/
 
Description March 2021: Submission to call for evidence from the Public Accounts Committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://committees.parliament.uk/call-for-evidence/401/
 
Description Member of the Interdisciplinary Child Well-Being Network (https://icwbn.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/), 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Department School of Geography & Sustainable Development
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I became a member of the Interdisciplinary Child Well-Being Network, presented at their workshop 'Studying the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on children in Ireland and the United Kingdom' and contributed to a policy brief http://www.cpc.ac.uk/docs/2022_PB67_Covid19_and_childrens_well-being.pdf
Collaborator Contribution Organisation and coordination of the network, workshop and policy note
Impact Workshop Policy note
Start Year 2021
 
Description (19th May 2021): Open Innovation Team meeting, topic: piece of work for the DfE on how best to use time in the school day, including possibilities for an extended school day, and other catch-up measures. With Olivia O'Sullivan. (Birgitta Rabe) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Open Innovation Team: meeting 19.5.2021, topic: piece of work for the DfE on how best to use time in the school day, including possibilities for an extended school day, and other catch-up measures. Olivia O'Sullivan
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description (5th May 2021): Education system recovery and resilience: a Nuffield Foundation roundtable for the Open Innovation Team (BIrgitta Rabe) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Education system recovery and resilience: a Nuffield Foundation roundtable for the Open Innovation Team
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description EVENT (14th October 2021): Participation at ESRC-GSR: Actionable Insights Seminar Series: Seminar 5 - Effective Public Services 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This seminar focused on:
• Educational outcomes for different groups, such as socio-economic background, gender and ethnicity
• Impacts of social distancing, home schooling and exam cancellations
• Actionable insights on how to mitigate the impact of COVID-19
• Longer-term implications for social mobility
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://solace.org.uk/actionable-insights-policy-seminars/
 
Description EVENT (29th November 2021): Presentation at AERA-OECD webinar 'How education fared during the first wave of Covid-19 lockdowns?' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On November 29, AERA and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) held an international forum, "How Education Fared During the First Wave of COVID-19 Lockdowns? International Evidence," drawing an audience of more than 1,600 researchers, policy experts, and practitioners from 86 countries.

Forum participants examined the findings and implications of a new OECD report, Schooling During a Pandemic. The report provides the first synthesis of high-quality studies on student learning and well-being during the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns (March-June 2020), coming mainly from France, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Interview from IQ magazine afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.aera.net/Newsroom/AERA-Highlights-E-newsletter/AERA-Highlights-November-2021/AERA-and-OE...
 
Description EVENT (8th September 2021): Participation at the Interdisciplinary Child Well-Being Network workshop '"COVID-19 crisis and children's economic well-being, education and mental health in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (Birgitta Rabe) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Interdisciplinary Child Well-Being Network workshop on the COVID-19 crisis and children's economic well-being, education and mental health in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN8v2tvtuiYcHScJI2Jl9tw
 
Description Event (1-2 September 2021): Presenter at 2nd Joint IZA & Jacobs Center Workshop: Consequences of Covid-19 for Child and Youth Development, "School Closures and Children's Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presenter at IZA/Jacobs Centre worshop: "School Closures and Children's Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://conference.iza.org/conference_files/covid_2021/invitation.html
 
Description Event (22-24 September 2021): Panelist on the Policy Panel on Ways Out of the Education Crisis Triggered by School Closures during the Pandemic at the 6th IZA Workshop: The Economics of Education (Birgitta Rabe) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Panelist on the Policy Panel on Ways Out of the Education Crisis Triggered by School Closures during the Pandemic at the 6th IZA Workshop: The Economics of Education
'Children's mental health and education recovery'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://conference.iza.org/conference_files/edu_2021/viewProgram?conf_id=3392
 
Description MEDIA (20 September 2021): IFS Podcast 'how to fix the education system' with Paul Johnson and Luke Sibieta (BIrgitta Rabe) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact recording of IFS podcast 'how to fix the education system' with Paul Johnson and Luke Sibieta.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://play.acast.com/s/7254eb54-5204-5553-bbb1-512e0f4731ef/6149f5a419a4970012825990
 
Description MEDIA (25th January 2021): Understanding Society Insights podcast 'How have the pandemic related school closures affected our children?' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Understanding Society Insights podcast 'How have the pandemic related school closures affected our children?'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.understandingsociety.ac.uk/podcasts/how-have-the-pandemic-related-school-closures-affect...
 
Description MEDIA (29th November 2021): Article in Politics Home: Children are facing a 'double hit' from pandemic 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Birgitta's research with colleagues at the Universities of Surrey and Birmingham was funded by the Nuffield Foundation. They used Understanding Society's special COVID-19 Survey which ran between April 2020 and September 2021. Using the new data, they found "a significant rise in emotional and behavioural difficulties among primary school children following the 2020 spring and summer term school closures, a rise that was greater for the children who were not prioritised to return to school for seven weeks before the summer holiday".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.politicshome.com/members/article/childrens-double-hit-from-pandemic
 
Description NEON Conference 'Reforming the higher education admission system: what does the evidence tell us?' 30.11.2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Conference on higher education admission. Sparked follow-up requests
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.educationopportunities.co.uk/events/reforming-the-higher-education-admission-system-what...
 
Description Presentation at NEON event University access: The role of background and Covid-19 throughout the application process (Holford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation sparked discussion and follow-up requests
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.educationopportunities.co.uk/events/reforming-the-higher-education-admission-system-what...