The ‘distance learning package’ delivered during the height of lockdown was a success in terms of student engagement and will not set students back in the long term, according to Education, Sport and Culture.
During a Scrutiny hearing, ESC President Matt Fallaize said that, while lockdown presented a great deal of difficulty, the more serious potential impacts had been mitigated. He said the students who were impacted in the short term should not have their development negatively impacted in the long term.
The Committee conducted a survey of parents whose children required home distance learning during the lockdown period. According to these results, 90% of children at a secondary school-level were accessing at least some of their learning at home.
This is compared to 98% of primary school-level children who were reported by parents to be accessing their learning.
According to Nick Hynes from ESC, schools and other relevant services were quick to assist in efforts to keep children connected so that distance learning could be accessed. This includes providing laptops and WiFi to families in need. Mr Hynes estimated that by the end of week 6 of lockdown, less than 2% of children on the island were still without access.
Pictured: ESC President Matt Fallaize was confident that the negative impact on students will be minimal during a Scrutiny hearing about the committee’s corona virus response.
Deputy Fallaize was also careful to point out that schools were never fully closed; children of key workers were still able to attend, even in the beginning of lockdown. As well as this, between 30-50% of children who attend special needs schools were able to attend, even at the height of lockdown.
Concerns were raised that children may be impacted as a result of this ‘gap’ in their normal learning and development. However, Deputy Fallaize was confident that they had mitigated these impacts as best as possible, owing to the speed with which schools were able to return to relative normality.
Deputy Fallaize argued that most children have only missed half of a term, and that learning had continued even during this time. The recent IB results, which were in line with what was expected, are a good indicator, he said, that there will not be a significant impact.
However, consideration is given to the 2021 exam season to ensure that students in years 10 and 12, who will be completing their GCSEs or A-Levels next year, do not suffer as a result of content that may have been missed.
Such considerations include delaying the exams until later in the summer, to allow more teaching time.
Pictured top: The island's States-run mainstream secondary schools.
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