Give children in all year groups the opportunity to repeat the school year

Give children in all year groups the opportunity to repeat the school year

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Helen O started this petition to Department for Education and

I feel compelled to start this petition  on behalf of the many thousands of children whose educational journey has been disrupted by the covid 19 pandemic . The purpose is not to criticise decisions or apportion blame. Rather to encourage change and thought processes that could make a positive difference as we look to the future.

Due to the covid pandemic, children have lost many months of valuable education. The quality of online education provided has been variable across the country, with many children unable to access the learning appropriately and receive the level of support required for meaningful learning. Virtual learning has by no means matched the quality face to face teaching, that facilitates children's varying learning abilities. Children have not been appropriately challenged and it has not been possible to identify and address gaps/ misconceptions in their knowledge through online learning. The government promised funding would be made available to help schools to address the lost learning time and reduce educational disparity. Due to the on going effects of the pandemic, further learning time has now been lost for our children. Mental health issues have increased as children have frequently tried to adapt between classroom based teaching and isolated virtual learning.

Raising the attainment of children who were working below the expected level for their age presented challenges pre covid. Even with additional funding and resources, I fear this will be an unachievable task, due to vastly fluctuating levels of support / learning that children have received, their mental wellbeing and time constraints. Data consistently demonstrates the effects of missed education on the life course of a child. For almost twelve months children have received a greatly reduced education that has been standardised, not differentiated and mostly not delivered by a subject specialist or teacher. Relentless covid outbreaks have led to inequality within education, which has the potential to lead to a generation of disadvantaged children. Potentially this will be heightened in those children who were already vulnerable or for whom learning was already challenging.

Current Year 11 pupils have lost a vast proportion of Year 10 learning time. Repeated periods of self - isolation has led to further reductions in face to face teaching since returning for their final year in September. For many of these pupils , predicted grades are based predominantly on work within the first few months of Year 10. This is concerning  as this was only the start of their journey studying their optional and core KS4 curriculum subjects. The teachers have had reduced opportunity to get to know their students, assess their strengths and identify their areas for development.

Exam year students, like students in all year groups should now be given the opportunity to repeat the school year and receive the educational opportunities that they are entitled to. For examination year groups, this was a critical period of their education and to grade them on the small proportion of the curriculum that they have received is not acceptable. Their journey is not comparable to the previous cohort, due to school closures occuring early in year 10, that remain ongoing to the present date. Many sat mock exams with little warning having being out of the classroom for 6 months. Teacher feedback on home learning work has not been comparable to the opportunities for progress and development within a classroom. To grade students  based on KS4 performance to date could be catastrophic for the futures of so many and not reflective of their true potential.

I am writing this as a parent of five school aged children and also a professional who has worked in both the Education and Health sectors. I have seen a decline in my own children's self esteem  as learning has become increasingly challenging for them and educational disparities apparent. I have witnessed the difficulties they have faced in not having specialist support from their subject teachers and the interaction with their peer group. This has been detrimental to their wellbeing, holistic development and achievement. This has not been the fault of the teachers or the schools, but due to an unprecedented public health pandemic. It is now time to take unprecedented steps in education and give this much needed learning time back to our children. I fear for the future expectations upon schools to perform miracles, identify and close widening gaps from  lost months of education and plan interventions that are not realistic to deliver- thus leading to wide spread issues further down the line.

As a country that values education and opportunity for our young people, it is crucial that we acknowledge the time and opportunities lost and react appropriately.
I am writing to you for the sake of my own children and for the children and families across the country who deserve to be given choices. I am requesting flexibility for children in all year groups to have the opportunity to repeat their current school year if appropriate, for teachers to have a fair opportunity of reducing learning inequalities and for our children to have the chance they deserve to achieve their maximum potential .

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!