Economic cost of lost learning runs into billions, warns Sir Kevan Collins

Sir Kevan Collins resigned as the education catch-up czar feared the government’s £ 1.4bn fund to help children recoup missed lessons ‘was well below what is needed’.

It was reported that he had requested funding of £ 15bn and 100 additional teaching hours per pupil, rather than the £ 1.4bn additional fund announced by the government.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Kevan, who stepped down after just four months as Commissioner for Education Revival, said: “A conservative estimate puts the long-term economic cost of learning loss in England due to the £ 100 billion pandemic with the average pupil missing 115 days of school.

“In some areas of the country where schools have been closed for longer, such as the North, the impact of low skills on productivity is likely to be particularly severe. “

A teacher behind a screen and students in a classroom in Birmingham in the West Midlands (Jacob King / PA)

According to figures from Sir Kevan in his statement, the average primary school will only directly receive £ 6,000 per year, which equates to £ 22 per child.

He warns that the current support package is “too narrow, too small and will be delivered too slowly” and that the pandemic has already caused the most damage to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Earlier this year, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggested that students who lost six months of regular schooling could lose around £ 40,000 in income over their lifetime.

This equates to £ 350 billion in lost income for life for the UK’s 8.7 million schoolchildren.

If the company manages to mitigate three-quarters of the long-term effects of learning loss, the total would still rise to nearly £ 90 billion, according to an IFS article.

The body added that the long-term risks to public finances could also be serious.

If 30-40% of future lifetime income ends up in taxes, then a loss of income of £ 350bn would mean more than £ 100bn in less tax revenue in the long run to be spent on public services or the repayment of debts currently accumulated. .

The IFS document warned that significant corrective action was urgently needed and that the necessary responses were “likely to be complex, difficult and costly”.

Without such measures, lost learning could translate into reduced productivity, lower incomes, lower tax revenues, higher inequalities and potentially costly social ills.

He added that the effects of learning loss could eventually be neutralized for people from well-off families and that long-term negative effects could be concentrated among people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Teacher study
The IFS document warned that significant corrective action was urgently needed (PA)

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) think tank previously estimated that £ 13.5 billion in three-year funding was needed in England to reverse disruption to student education due to the pandemic .

In a report, the EPI said longer school days should be introduced so that students who have lost learning amid Covid can participate in social and academic activities.

He also added that school hours should be extended, more incentives should be offered to teachers to work in “difficult areas”, and some students should be allowed to resume the year as part of their studies. education recovery plans.

The money, announced by the Department of Education (DfE) on Wednesday, will be used to provide pupils with up to 100 million hours of lessons as part of the government’s remedial program for children in England who have been disrupted due to Covid-19.

The £ 1.4bn is being made available on top of the £ 1.7bn already pledged.

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