Kids in parts of England have spent just 60 days in school in nearly a year


CHILDREN in parts of England will have spent only 60 days in school in nearly a year by March, HOAR can reveal.

Some kids will have been at home for more than two-thirds of their class time, figures show.

Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Some children will have spent two thirds of the school year stuck at home due to coronavirus

One MP warned that a generation was being plunged into the “Dark Ages”.
Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said there was a “widening gap” between pupils doing well and those falling behind.

All schools closed to most kids from March 20 last year, when the first lockdown began, to September when they opened for autumn term which normally lasts 73 days.

Children in Covid hotspots in the North and Midlands missed a chunk of classroom time — many sent home in “bubbles” over virus scares.

Secondary pupils in Rochdale, Gtr Manchester, were worst hit, spending 13.2 days on average at home until breaking up for Christmas.

Schools were told not to reopen after the holidays and will not do so again until March 8, possibly later.

It means secondary school kids in Rochdale will have spent just 60 days of one disrupted term in class out of a typical 190-day school year.

Covid is hammering the education of deprived kids the most

Children in Sandwell, West Mids, were almost as badly off, missing 13.1 days in autumn, followed by Oldham (12.6) and Bolton (11.3).

Kids in the South and South West faced least disruption, missing 2.0 days of the autumn term on average in Somerset, 2.1 in Rutland and 2.2 on the Isle of Wight.

Anne Longfield, who uncovered the Department for Education figures, said: “Children in some parts of the country have spent the best part of a year out of school.

“All that time the existing gap between those doing well and those falling behind is widening. Many face a double-whammy of entrenched deprivation and poor schools made worse by the crisis.”

Tory MP Robert Halfon, education select committee chairman, said: “These figures illustrate how school closures are a return to the Dark Ages for so many children from disadvantaged backgrounds living in disadvantaged areas.

“They are being denied the basic human right of a good education. That’s why education, education, education should be about assembling a coalition of the willing to get our children back in school by March 8, if not before.”


Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has come under fire over his U-turns on school returns

Tory MP Tom Hunt, who also sits on the committee, added: “These figures are very depressing. Making up for this lost learning should be an absolute national priority.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has come under fire over his U-turns on school returns and closure during the pandemic.

Earlier this week, PM Boris Johnson said schools would not start up again until March 8 “at the earliest”. He said it would be done “as fast as we think we can prudently go”.

He added: “We recognise these extended school closures have had a huge impact on children’s learning, which will take more than a year to make up.

So we will work with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their learning over the course of this parliament.”

Secondary school pupils in Rochdale in Greater Manchester have been the worst hit

Ministers are considering reopening primaries and getting key exam years back to secondaries first.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We are determined to ensure pupils continue to receive the best possible education while they cannot be in classrooms.

“Schools are given advice, guidance and training on providing remote education, and the Government is delivering 1.3million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged young people. More than 875,000 have been delivered to date.”

GOT a story? RING HOAR on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]