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AoC responds to Education Policy Institute’s report on pandemic maths impact

11 May 2023

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Responding to the Education Policy Institute’s report on the impact of the pandemic on children’s numeracy skills, David Hughes, Association of Colleges chief executive said: “Covid-19 had an enormous impact on educational progress for all children and young people in varying ways. My worry is that those who were 12 or 13 when the pandemic hit will be starting college this September, so this report is a timely reminder of the far-reaching effects of the crisis.

“Previous research shows progress by the end of key stage two is a good predictor of outcomes at 16. This report shows primary school children have missed out, and we know it is the same for those in key stages three and four. Many will start their post-16 education underprepared and there are simply not the resources available in 16 to 18 educational settings to fully support students to catch up.

“Colleges teach over 90% of those young people who fail to achieve grade 4 or above GCSEs in English and maths. This is almost the final opportunity for these 200,000 plus young people to achieve vital skills, but progress is hampered by poor funding. Pupil premium support ends for young people when they reach 16, but we all know that disadvantage does not end when they leave school for college. Those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds have been impacted even more so by the pandemic and unless swift action and investment is focused on addressing the skills gaps for this cohort in particular the Government's ambition to boost maths skills across the board will fail and leave another generation without the numeracy abilities they need to get on in life.”

Notes to editors:

You can access the EPI's full report here. The report’s findings are strictly embargoed until 00.01 Thursday 11 May.