The school closures over the last 18 months are one of the most visible consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we have returned to normality, many children won’t overcome the after-effects of the pandemic as fast, due to delays in their social, cognitive and emotional development. Working within senior level recruitment consultancy, operating largely across Education and Special Education, this has been a frequent topic of discussion throughout the pandemic. Only time will tell whether students fall behind or bounce back. At Panoramic Care, we frequently collate the opinions of our network, and as such we conducted a poll asking: is this decrease in ‘knowledge’ a temporary setback that schools and teachers can eventually compensate?We saw a landslide of votes, as 79% of participants supported the notion that the decrease in knowledge was a temporary setback. Due to unfamiliar learning environments and the lack of education children were exposed to during the pandemic (compared to other years), this constitutes ‘the largest disruption to education in history (United Nations 2020)’ (https://voxeu.org/article/collateral-damage-children-s-education-during-lockdown), with 95% of the world’s school population being affected.A common response we received was that children are resilient and a bounce back is inevitable; the more parents and teachers can do to help bridge the gaps the better. If no action is taken, these gaps in their knowledge will become more significant and noticeable.It is also worth considering the viewpoint of the 7% of voters that insisted that this setback was not temporary, and the 17% of participants that were unsure. These inconsistencies may not be due to the lack of educational exposure, but rather from other implications of the pandemic. Children’s parents may have faced job loss or illness for example, causing an onset of stress or anxiety. Factors such as these may be the cause of the setback, and therefore, may not be temporary or an easy fix.
The impact the pandemic has had on our school population is sobering. These topics need to be discussed in order to highlight the importance of meeting these needs and putting measures in place to compensate for the knowledge already lost.
If you have any thoughts on any of the above, please feel free to get in touch with us.