Laura Sharman 07 September 2021

Catch-up policies must target poorer pupils, say researchers

Catch-up policies must target poorer pupils, say researchers image

Four in ten children did not meet the minimum guidelines for learning time during the pandemic despite improvements in home learning, a report has found.

Research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows the quality of home learning in England improved substantially over the first year of the pandemic, especially for more disadvantaged pupils.

However, these improvements will not be enough to overcome the large inequalities caused by the first lockdown, the researchers warned.

During the first lockdown, children from the poorest families had nearly eight fewer hours of learning compared to the richest pupils. However, by February/March 2021 the share of pupils being offered online classes increased by 30%.

Angus Phimister, a research economist at IFS and an author of the report, said: ‘The first lockdown was particularly tough on the schooling of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who spent around eight fewer hours a week learning than their better-off peers.

’Welcome improvements during the second round of school closures meant that learning experiences looked much more similar. But catch-up policies need to be carefully designed to be taken up by poorer pupils if they are to have any chance of putting a dent in the educational inequalities that have grown so much wider during the pandemic.’

The report also found that outside of national school closures, provision for absent students was poor. Just 40% of pupils had access to interactive learning resources during the Autumn 2020 term, with only 35% of poorer pupils having access to live or pre-recorded lessons.

Skate parks are not the only fruit image

Skate parks are not the only fruit

On Go Skateboarding Day, Susannah Walker asks councils and their leisure and park departments to think differently about what facilities they provide for teenagers.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs


Royal Borough of Greenwich
£28470 - £44628 per annum
Building Surveyor or Quantity Surveyor Apprenticeship Career Grade Sc6- PO4 (£28,470 - £44,628)3 or 5 Years (depending on experience) Fixed Term Learn England, London
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Teacher of the Deaf

City of Bradford MDC
Band/Grade MPS / UPS + 1 or 2 SEN
We are seeking to recruit a creative, innovative and experienced Teacher of the Deaf to work in the Support Team for Deaf Children. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Registration Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£26,481 -£37,677
Do you want a fast-paced and varied role? Would you like to help people through some of the most important moments of their lives? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Head of Service – Adults Services South, Safeguarding & DoLS

Bolton Council
It is an exciting time to join us as Head of Service for Safeguarding, DoLS and South District. Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council


Royal Borough of Greenwich
£28,470 - £44,628
Kick-start your career with an apprenticeship based in Royal Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.