UK school disruption amid Covid worst since WWII: Report

A woman sends her children to a primary school in central London, Britain.

London, (Asian independent) Schools in the UK have faced their most disruptive period due to the coronavirus pandemic, the worst since World War II, a British think-tank said in a report.

In the report published on Wednesday, the Institute for Government, an independent think-tank which aims to improve government effectiveness through research and analysis, said the government’s failure to make contingency plans for schools and exams in the summer of 2020 was the most “unforgivable aspect” of its handling of education during the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Schools closed only to be opened, closed, and then re-opened again. Exams were cancelled, not once but twice, with knock-on effects to university admissions that will be felt for years to come.

“Parents, heads and teachers struggled — with access to laptops for home schooling, with the home schooling itself, and with coronavirus testing regimes for pupils and staff. At times it felt as though the school system was in chaos,” said the report.

The report, based on interviews with government insiders and education experts, said the government deserves some credit, such as for its swift decision on the definition of key workers whose children could remain in school and, if after a slow start, delivering more than 1 million laptops to disadvantaged pupils.

“But across 2020 and 2021, pupils, parents and teachers were too often left bewildered by last-minute, poorly communicated U-turns on school closures and exams.

“Lessons were not learnt from the first lockdown, with the result that, for both school closures and exams, the story from July 2020 to January 2021 was a case of pause, rewind, repeat,” it added.