Covid-19: Closing the gaps in learning

There is no doubt that the period of partial school closures will have had an impact on the learning of this current generation of school children, right across the UK and in many parts of our world.  It is unprecedented and will pose a number of challenges.  As a group of schools, we are committed to ensuring that these children and young people will not experience long term disadvantage as a result of this historic situation. 

Children and young people will have experienced the lockdown differently.  For some it will have been a pleasure and they will have thrived.  Some will have had the technology, the space, the support and the motivation to engage with remote learning on a regular basis and will have progressed significantly in their learning.  Some will have also had the opportunity to engage in other family activities and will have learned other practical skills. 

However, some families will have lacked access to sufficient equipment.  With many parents also working at home, some will have not had enough laptops to go round. Wifi will have been patchy.  Even very motivated children may have simply been unable to access some of the learning.  Not all children and young people are motivated to engage in learning on their own.  This is quite normal but will have meant that, even if they had the kit, they still did not keep up with the work. 

Penk Valley Academy Trust is a Visible Learning Trust and we believe that the best way forward is to design a long-term approach to teaching and learning which will ensure children and young people are able to make the necessary progress in their learning.  We will start ‘with the end in mind’.  We will identify where children need to be in their learning by the end of next year.  In September we will diagnose where they currently are in their learning and so be clear about where the gaps are and what steps will be needed to close them. 

So what about the summer holidays?  We believe the best possible way for children to re-focus and prepare themselves to continue their learning is through a proper summer break. The past three months will have been exhausting and to recharge the batteries and have a normal summer is key to bringing children back in September in the best possible mindset for learning. We know parents who work need holiday childcare, and so we are committed to doing what we have always done, and, working with partner organisations, will provide the usual fun, active and engaging holiday clubs.  

It is exciting to see increasing numbers of children being allowed back into our schools.  We are really looking forward to having all our children and young people back in our schools in September to continue their learning journeys.