Schools reopening UK: Why school days may be LONGER post-lockdown

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Schools were closed as part of the UK’s nationwide lockdown on March 23. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lockdown easing plan, schools may begin to reopen on June 1.

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A new study published by London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) suggests school days could become half an hour longer in order to stop the so-called “COVID generation” falling behind after lockdown.

The report holds that unless drastic measures are introduced, it will take “several years” for children to catch up when schools reopen.

Researchers warn that without a series of interventions, youngsters will slip into a “dark age” of declining social mobility due to inequalities that have been exacerbated during lockdown.

School closures for many pupils are likely to last for 10-14 weeks, equivalent to a third of the school year, the report says.

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Schools reopening UK: Why school days may be LONGER post-lockdown

SCHOOLS in the UK may reopen with longer days to prevent a “dark age” of low social mobility. (Image: PA)

Schools reopening UK: Why school days may be LONGER post-lockdown

A new study published by London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) suggests school days could become half an hour longer in order to stop the so-called “COVID generation” falling behind after lockdown. (Image: PA)

The report continues to suggest that based on calculations from previous studies, it is estimated that “more than two additional hours of teaching per week might be needed over a year” to compensate for each school week lost to COVID-19.

The report, published by the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), said: “This suggests that several years of extra tutoring will be required to bring children back up to speed.

“Much will depend on the quality of teaching that pupils receive.

“The longer we leave the school return for our most vulnerable children, the bigger will be the challenge in getting them back up to speed.”

Schools reopening UK: Why school days may be LONGER post-lockdown

The UK’s coronavirus cases as of Thursday May 28 (Image: Express)

The report also suggests other provisions to prevent young people under 25 falling behind with low social mobility.

LSE is advocating for the introduction of job guarantees for people who are unemployed for more than 6 or 12 months.

It also suggests a one-off progressive wealth tax on the net worth of the top one percent of richest individuals.

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Schools reopening UK: Why school days may be LONGER post-lockdown

The report continues to suggest that based on calculations from previous studies, it is estimated that “more than two additional hours of teaching per week might be needed over a year” to compensate for each school week lost to COVID-19. (Image: PA)

Professor Lee Elliot Major, co-author of the report, said: “There are serious concerns that the pandemic will plunge the COVID-19 generation into a dark age of declining social mobility because of rising economic and educational inequalities.

“The effects of the crisis and lockdown vary across age groups: while the coronavirus health shock has particularly affected the over-60s, the longer-term economic and social damage is likely to hit young people disproportionately, especially the under-25s.”

CEP’s director Professor Stephen Machin, co-author of the report, also said: “We need to develop bold policies for now and the longer term to ensure the economic recovery also creates a more socially mobile society that is fairer for all.

“We owe it to our young people to ensure that our post-COVID-19 economy is more local, sustainable, inclusive and productive.

“There is scope and, we believe, demand and appetite to do it.”

Schools reopening UK: Why school days may be LONGER post-lockdown

Earlier this month, the Education Secretary said that retired teachers and university graduates could be drafted in to run summer schools for children. (Image: PA)

Earlier this month, the Education Secretary said that retired teachers and university graduates could be drafted in to run summer schools for children.

Gavin Williamson revealed that he is “very closely looking at” a scheme which would see volunteers provide extra tuition for youngsters who have fallen behind during lockdown.

The Government has also asked schools to prepare to open on Monday for pupils in Reception, Year One and Year Six, with the “ambition” that all primary age pupils will be able to return by the end of the month.

But the announcement has been met with staunch opposition from teacher unions and dozens of local councils who said it is not safe to reopen next month, along with more than 50 councils allowing headteachers to decide whether they should open or advising against it completely.


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