March 25, 2021
Key points: Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, is a world-leading longitudinal survey of continuity and change in UK life. In April 2020, we began a regular new survey to look at the impact of Covid-19 on the UK population. Our evidence shows the unequal impact of school closures on advantaged and disadvantaged children, and on ethnic minorities, as well as the impact on children’s mental health. In the first lockdown, 90% of children got school work at home, but under a third (32%) had one or more live lessons a day. During April 2020, 74% of private school pupils had full school days, compared to 38% of state school pupils. Secondary school children with their own computer spent 3.8 hours per day on school work, compared to 2.6 hours for more disadvantaged children who had to share a computer. Children with Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds spent the least amount of time on home learning and were overrepresented in not receiving distance teaching. Mothers reported a substantial increase in children’s behavioural and emotional difficulties during the pandemic. Wellbeing was higher when children returned to school, but still much lower than prepandemic levels. Additional support for children’s mental health and wellbeing is likely to be required for some time.
COVID-19: support for children’s education. Third report of session 2021–22. Report, together with formal minutes relating to the report. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 20 May 2021
Parliamentary Paper - 20210526