Remote learning ‘at best partial substitute’ for classroom, analysis finds

Remote learning ‘at best partial substitute’ for classroom, analysis finds
Difference ‘particularly acute’ in schools with more pupils eligible for free school meals, ONS says

Remote learning was “at best a partial substitute” for classroom lessons, 和 schools with more disadvantaged pupils particularly hard hit, according to new analysis.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that students on the whole covered “substantially less material” at home compared to peers physically in school.

The difference between remote schooling – which takes place at home – and in-person learning was “particularly acute” in schools with more pupils eligible for free school meals, the ONS analysis found.

“Remote learners at these schools covered a smaller fraction of in-class learning materials than remote learners at schools with a lower proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals,” the statistics body said.

Remote schooling would take place during times pupils had to stay at home, including during lockdown or when they were self-isolating.

The ONS said: “Remote learning was, at best, a partial substitute for in-class teaching during the coronavirus (新冠肺炎) 大流行病, as pupils covered substantially less material when working from home than their peers in the classroom, according to teacher assessments.”

The statistics body said data showed the gap between remote and in-class learners appeared larger in schools with more disadvantaged pupils, which it said could be potentially down to several reasons.

It said one could be that social problems associated with deprivation “have a greater impact on pupils learning remotely than when they are in school”.

Another reason could be teachers in more affluent schools may be able to “rely more on pupils having access to appropriate technology for remote working”.

The government and charities issued hundreds of thousands of laptops to disadvantaged pupils to support them with remote learning when unable to go into school during the pandemic.

But one study suggested one third of disadvanted students did not have access to a device needed for online work last year.

Geoff Barton from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) 说: “Despite the best efforts of schools, disadvantaged pupils are more likely than their peers to have suffered learning loss during the pandemic.

“The government rollout of laptops for these pupils to enable them to access remote learning was ponderous. 此外, many of these young people may not have had a dedicated space in which to work, and they often face many other challenges in their lives.”

The union leader said the new findings on remote learning“emphasise the need for a more ambitious and better resourced education recovery package” from the government.

Peter Kyle MP, the shadow schools minister, 说: “All children have suffered from the consequences of this pandemic. Despite teachers’ best efforts, remote learning cannot make up for being in a classroom.

“But these statistics show it’s the children on free school meals who have been held back the most.”

The Labour MP added: “The Conservatives have refused to support sufficient fund recovery efforts for our children, and have overseen a widening gap in learning with children on free school meals falling behind.”

The Department for Education (DfE) has been approached for comment.



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