More than two-thirds of vulnerable children failed to attempt any coursework in lockdown, says survey

Published by The Press and Journal

Written by Kieran Beattie

Youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds said they found their books were too difficult to follow without the assistance of their teacher, and many said they found it hard to concentrate due to stress and anxiety brought about by the pandemic.

More than 1,000 pupils took part in the research by the charity MCR Pathways, which works to employ mentors for children who need in across Scotland.

The organisation asked the secondary school students to share their experiences of education during lockdown.

One in four of those surveyed said they could not do any work because they had to care for others, around 90% said they reported problems with their sleeping patterns, and two-thirds said they felt low, anxious and stressed.

Ian MacRitchie, the founder of the charity, said: “Given the impact of lockdown on our most disadvantaged, we felt it was absolutely critical that young people’s voices were heard and centre stage for all decisions on how to build back better.

“The loss of education has been compounded by the profound impact on mental wellbeing, confidence and self-belief.”

Some of the pupils who took part said technical solutions for home working did not work out as planned.

Around 20% said they didn’t have space, and 15% complained about not having the right equipment.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This pandemic is impacting children from disadvantaged backgrounds particularly hard and pupils’ well-being is at the heart of our education recovery strategy.

“Councils and schools now have the flexibility to redirect resources aimed at closing the attainment gap, and last month we announced £50million from the Attainment Scotland Fund to help close the poverty-related attainment gap.”

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