New reports published this week by the Education Review Office (ERO) provide recommendations for how schools can support their students as they return to the classroom after lockdown.
“Whilst schools have gone above and beyond in supporting students to learn in lockdown our research shows that some students are likely to need additional support when they return to the classroom” says Ruth Shinoda, Head of ERO’s Education Evaluation Centre.
“We know that not all students were confident about being able to learn from home when we talked to them in June. NCEA students were least confident they could learn from home with just under two-thirds of NCEA students agreeing they would be able to learn from home, compared to around three-quarters of Year 4-8 students. Male students were also less positive about learning in lockdown than female students.
“Students in low decile schools may also need extra help. In June around nearly one in five of low decile students we spoke to didn’t have a device at home or were unsure, compared to less than one in twenty of high decile students. We also found that principals in low decile schools were less confident they were prepared for another lockdown.”
The new ERO research also found that lockdown is likely to have disproportionately affected Māori and Pacific students, with 12 percent disagreeing that they would be able to learn from home during another lockdown, compared to five percent of New Zealand European students.
“This may be partly explained by a lack of access to digital devices, with 21 percent of Māori students and 19 percent of Pacific students saying they would not have access to a digital device or were unsure, compared to only seven percent of New Zealand European students,” says Shinoda.
“There is also likely to be high levels of anxiety among students about Covid-19. Last year we found student anxiety about Covid-19 increased significantly after they came out of their bubbles and returned to school.”
ERO’s reports outlines practical actions schools can take for re-engaging students back in the classroom and addressing any learning loss that may have occurred as a result of lockdown.
“We know that strengthening relationships with students and their whānau and giving students opportunities to make decisions about their learning can help support student reengagement,” says Ms Shinoda.
“We also know that some students will need additional learning opportunities to help them succeed. This is where schools can consider accelerated learning programmes, which could include tailored group and individual acceleration programmes for those learners who are at risk of not catching-up.
“ERO hopes that school leaders find these new resources helpful for understanding the impact of lockdown on their students and the practical actions they can take to support learners. We also hope schools will continue to prepare for further disruptions.”
These two new reports Learning in a Covid-19 World: Supporting Primary and Secondary School Students as They Return to the Classroom can be read on ERO’s website: www.ero.govt.nz.