Many students missed a large amount of school time during the pandemic, even after schools had re-opened nationally. During the 2020/21 academic year, 18% of year 11 students missed more than 20 days of school, with a further 24% missing between 11 and 20 days. Young people from lower occupational status backgrounds were more likely to miss school, with 21% of those from working class backgrounds missing more than 20 days, compared to 17% from higher managerial/professional backgrounds.
Many young people feel they have fallen behind due to the pandemic, with 36% saying they have fallen behind their peers. 37% of those at state schools said they had fallen behind their classmates – more than double the figure for independent school students. Young people from ethnic minorities were more likely to be concerned they had fallen behind their classmates due to pandemic disruption.
Overall, 53% of young people took part in at least one type of ‘catch-up’ activity. The most commonly reported was additional online classes students could watch, re-watch or join from home, with 50% of pupils offered this, and 30% taking it up. Children in the state comprehensive schools with highest intakes of pupils eligible for eligible for free school meals (FSM) were the most likely to have taken part in catch-up activity, at 61%, compared to 48% of those in the least deprived state comprehensive schools.
The National Tutoring Programme was a flagship part of the government’s catch-up plans, providing one-to-one and small group tuition to pupils. 41% of year 11 pupils in state comprehensive schools reported being offered some type of tutoring, with 27% taking it up. This compares to 9% of parents reporting they paid for their child to have private tuition in the same time period, and 52% of students in independent schools being offered tuition by their school.