Secondary school children from the most advantaged families will take six months to catch up following the Covid-19 closure of schools while those from disadvantaged backgrounds could take up to a year, according to a study.
Researchers from the University of Southampton also found that primary age children from advantaged families would be approximately a year behind while those from disadvantaged backgrounds would be even further behind.
Dr Nic Pensiero, who led the study, said: “Parents who work in professional and management occupations, which are suitable for home working, are better able to assist their children’s home learning.
“When you also consider that such parents are better able to provide children with their own computers and other learning resources as well as a suitable learning space, this puts their children in a significantly better situation than those from non-professional, non-managerial families.”
Dr Pensiero continued: “The transition to distance learning is likely to increase inequalities in education because of differences in both the volume of school work provided and the abilities of some parents to support their children’s learning.
“Parents with professional and managerial jobs have the advantage of being better able to assist with home schooling and having more time to do so as they are more likely to be working from home.”
The researchers used the national Understanding Society study to analyse data collected on home learning from the families of 1,430 primary and 1,595 secondary schoolchildren in the month of April.
According to the data provided, children in secondary education with the most advantaged circumstances spent nearly four hours per day on school work, compared with just over two-and-a-half hours for those from disadvantaged circumstances.
For children in primary school education, the most advantaged spent nearly three hours on school work, compared with less than two-and-a-half for the most disadvantaged pupils.
The researchers said that in the most advantaged families, the main parent would work at a large employer or in a managerial or professional occupation, both parents would be working from home and the child would have their own computer.
In the most disadvantaged families, the parent would not be in a professional or managerial occupation, either parent does not work regularly from home and the child has to share a computer with other family members.
Picture: Archive photo, dated 30/03/20, shows a sign outside a closed school. (Tim Goode/PA).