ASCL responds to NFER report on Covid impact and learning recovery

02/09/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), on the on-going impact of Covid-19 on schools serving predominantly deprived populations. 
 
Commenting on the report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), on the on-going impact of Covid-19 on schools serving predominantly deprived populations, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“This report contains some very useful pointers to the government on bolstering its education recovery plans in the spending review that is due to take place this autumn. The investment it has announced to date simply does not go far enough.
 
“Of particular concern is the finding that most school leaders reported more pupil wellbeing and mental health problems than usual and that a substantial minority noted an increase in severe mental health issues, including self-harm.
 
“The report recommends the provision of adequate and sustained recovery funding which gives senior leaders sufficient flexibility to provide targeted support for wellbeing and enrichment as well as academic support.
 
“We think this flexibility is vital and that the government’s focus so far on tutoring programmes as the main strategy for recovery is far too narrow in scope.
 
“The government must also, as the report recommends, boost specific investment for wellbeing and mental health support both in schools and for specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
 
“This latter priority pre-dates the pandemic with schools often reporting severe difficulties in accessing services which are obviously inadequately funded and unable to cope with demand.”