Education Select Committee Consultation on impacts of COVID-19 on Education

29 July 2020

The Royal Society has responded to the House of Commons Education Select Committee inquiry (PDF) into the impact of Covid-19 on education and children’s services.

The Society’s key recommendations are as follows: 

  • The Education Select Committee should continue to monitor the 2020 results and the plans for the 2021 assessment series carefully, with a focus on ensuring that students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are not further disadvantaged. The Royal Society recommends that option choices are included in the 2021 series to mitigate this.
  • Practical work is integral to the study of science, and we recommend that wherever possible and safe to do so, students are required to undertake practical work as part of their science courses. The Royal Society recommends the Education Select Committee closely monitor Ofqual and the awarding bodies’ decision making regarding practical work over the coming weeks and months.
  • The mental health of young people and teachers must be an absolute priority as we begin to put together a ‘new normal’ in education. The Royal Society recommends significant funding is given to schools to help facilitate this.
  • Covid-19 has exposed a number of fragilities in the current education system, but has also presented us with an opportunity to look beyond the pandemic, and to begin to create an education system fit for the future. The Royal Society continues to recommend a major review into the purpose and nature of the UK education systems, in order to build a system which truly prepares young people for their future.