The charity Tutors United has today warned that the pandemic has risked increasing educational inequality as pupils return to school.
A study by the charity found that 73% of the families it works with are concerned that their child will fall behind as a result of school closures. It has been estimated that roughly 10 million pupils across the UK have been affected by the closure of schools, missing out on months of face-to-face teaching.
The increased pressure on families to provide supplementary educational activities from home to mitigate the effects of schools closing and prevent children falling behind, means families from lower socioeconomic backgrounds risk being disproportionately affected. Of the families which Tutors United work with, 85.5% have an income of less than £30,000, 73.4% are in receipt of means-tested benefits and 55.9% receive free school meals.
Joel Davis, CEO of Tutors United said: “The gaps in primary school education provision during the pandemic could lead to increased inequalities, as pupils from lower socioeconomic backgrounds struggle to afford additional help to enable them to catch up.”
“It is crucial that the Government recognise these challenges and ensure that every child is given the opportunity to succeed and achieve. At Tutors United we strongly believe that boosting performance in these key subjects, at a young age, can dramatically improve prospects for children and young people.”
Tutors United works with some of the largest housing associations in and around London to boost English and Maths levels among pupils who have faced some of the most challenging economic circumstances. The charity found that primary school pupils who receive just 13 hours of tutoring improved Maths scores by 241%, while in English, pupils progressed on average, 2 sub levels.
Anna Maria Ciepiaszuk, a parent whose child has been supported by Tutors United throughout the pandemic, commented on the importance of tutoring following the disruption to her child’s school learning: “It’s been absolutely priceless, for the both of us!”
Davis added: “Primary school education, which can have a big impact on future educational performance has been largely overlooked. Without properly addressing the variety of educational need across all ages and backgrounds, the impact of the pandemic on children will continue to be felt for years to come.”