Children and young people deserve to benefit from education, support and social relationships to help them thrive, yet because of the Covid-19 pandemic they experienced a year of their lives in and out of lockdown, largely away from school as part of the national effort to reduce the impact of the virus. Equally many of them spent more time with family, learnt new skills and experienced a new way of living. It is too early to decipher all the nuanced and mixed impacts of the pandemic across the country. However, by waiting for the picture to become clearer, we risk seeing trends too late.
It's time to ACT: Countering the impact of Covid-19 on pupils and schools, published by Social Finance and Cheshire West and Chester Council, reveals a growing gap between pupils with full attendance and increasingly absent pupils – a trend hidden by average attendance figures.
This work takes stock and learns from the last year, understanding as much as possible about the experience of pupils, their families, schools, and local agencies to invest and plan for recovery. It builds on insights from previous analysis commissioned by the council, released in the 2020 report Maximising Access to Education: Who’s at risk of school exclusion? An analysis in Cheshire West and Chester, to recognise changes locally, celebrate successes, mitigate the impact of trauma and reduce the risk of a sharp increase in school exclusions in coming months and years.