IFS survey reveals insight into home learning and how children are spending their time in lockdown

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22nd May 2020 17:14 - Education

IFS survey reveals insight into how children are spending their time in lockdown: Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has revealed initial evidence about the experiences of children in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The survey of more than 4,000 parents with children aged 4-15 asked about the types of home learning activities children have been engaging in since since schools closed on 20 March 2020. It also sought to find out the types of home learning resources available to families. 

The research found that on average, both primary and secondary age children are engaging in learning for five hours per day, however children from more wealthy families are spending more time on educational activities than those from less affluent families. 

Breaking it down further, children in the highest-income fifth are engaging with home learning for 5.8 hours per day, which decreases to 4.5 hours for children in the least affluent families. This equates to 6 hours and a quarter more education each week for the wealthiest families. The IFS points out that if the current levels of home education stay the same, the gap between these groups will widen further, and equate to a lost 15 full school days by September, which the research institute fears could have 'substantial long-term consequences'.

The survey found that 82% of children who are privately educated are being offered active help from their schools, with 79% attending online classrooms. 

In state schools, almost two thirds (64%) of students from the most affluent families have been given active help from their child's school, compared with 47% from the poorest fifth of families. 

The research also revealed insight into where children are undertaking their home learning, with almost six in 10 (58%) of the least well off families not having access to their own study space. 

See more of the key findings in the full report

*Survey conducted Wednesday 29 April and Tuesday 12 May 2020.

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