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40% Of UK Pupils Failed To Get "Minimum Learning Time" | Tutorwiz
40% Of UK Pupils Failed To Get "Minimum Learning Time" | Tutorwiz

40% Of UK Pupils Failed To Get “Minimum Learning Time”

40% Of Pupils Failed To Get “Minimum Learning Time” During Covid Pandemic

A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has revealed that around 40% of the UK’s school-aged children did not receive the minimum amount of learning time during the UK’s Coronavirus lockdowns.

The report found that 2 in 5 pupils’ did not meet the UK government’s minimum guidelines for remote learning time, creating a lasting impact for many students.

We are well aware of the impact missed learning has on a student – Schools don’t want your child to miss even a week of school to go on holiday, let alone spend months out of the classroom. This period of missed learning time has had a serious and lasting impact on many students, with some reports suggesting that lost school time “could cost pupils £40,000 in lifetime earnings”…

The IFS’ research found that 25% of parents think that their child will take at least a school year to catch up on lost learning, and 7% think that their child will never catch up, showing the massive impact missed education has had on all students.

This IFS’ research has been reinforced by data we have collected ourselves, showing that more than 53% of parents surveyed said that they spoke with their child’s teacher less than once a month over the course of the lockdowns and more than half of parents thinking that personalised catchup plans are necessary for school students.

The reality of the Covid-19 pandemic is that it has caused a major disruption to children’s education, something which we are likely to see the impact of for many years to come.


Why Did So Many Students Fail To Get “Minimum Learning Time”?

Part of the reason why so many students failed to get the minimum learning time (the Government’s expected minimum daily amount of time spent on remote learning) is that students were given just two days’ notice of school closures, with no clear guidance for teachers on how to approach remote education (a new experience for the vast majority).

With so many unsure about how to approach the new phenomena of remote learning, it was to be expected that not all students would achieve the minimum learning time, at least not to start with.

However, while the remote learning provisions provided by schools did improve, many students’ education continued to be affected. Our survey found that more than 53% of parents said that they spoke with their child’s teacher less than once a month over the course of the lockdowns, and almost a quarter of parents said that their child’s teacher did not mark any of their child’s school work during both lockdowns.

Families from less privileged backgrounds were at even more of a disadvantage and less likely to get the minimum learning time, with limited access to devices such as laptops and tablets and slow internet connections and, in some circumstances, no internet access at all.

Children’s education was further interrupted by “The Pingdemic”, with self-isolating students having limited access to support and unequal provisions versus those who were not forced into self-isolation. However, it is worth mentioning that inequalities in home-learning experiences in England improved over the pandemic.

What Is The “Minimum Learning Time”?

The minimum learning time is a guideline set out by the Government to ensure that students receive the minimum amount of learning time deemed necessary by the UK government. This minimum range is around 100 hours per pupil per month for primary school and approximately 110 hours per secondary school.

Are Student’s Getting The “Minimum Learning Time” Now?

Thankfully, with all schools back open and operating near-normal, almost all students are now getting the minimum learning time set out by the Government once again.

Home-learning continued to improve throughout the pandemic, with Adam Salisbury, an author of the IFS report saying: “Thanks to the efforts of teachers, schools, families and policymakers, the second round of remote learning went far better than the first time around.”, explaining that by the UK’s second national lockdown, students, teachers and parents alike were all much better prepared for remote learning.

Despite the improvement in remote learning, students’ education was still considerably impacted by the UK’s second national lockdown, evidenced by the UK Government choosing teacher assessments over formal examinations for the second year in a row. This move to teacher assessments confirmed the impact missed learning time was still having on students.

However, with most classrooms now back to normal, almost all students achieve the minimum learning time once again. But It’s worth noting that this is the minimum learning time as set out by government guidelines. While this is the minimum amount of time a student should spend learning, it is not necessarily the ideal time.

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What Are The Government Doing About Missed Learning Time?

The Government has announced a raft of new measures and initiatives to help students to bounce back from their missed learning of the past two years. However, the challenge now is to make sure that the correct help is reaching the right students.

In the same study, the IFS identified that amongst the poorest families in the UK, a third of pupils had chosen not to take up tutoring offered to them versus only a seventh when it came to the most affluent families. It seems that help isn’t perfectly reaching the right families for one reason or another.

It’s these families from more disadvantaged backgrounds who were most impacted by missed learning time, with the IFS report stating: “The poorest fifth of primary school children lost around 8.5 days on average in the autumn term, compared with 6.5 days among pupils in the middle and at the top of the earnings distribution,”.

The UK Government have announced packages such as the National Tutoring Programme, pledging more than £350 million to help students in their education recovery. However, it is worth noting that this is just a fraction of the money pledged per pupil per year by other countries to help their students recover from the pandemic, and there is still much work to be done to ensure that the correct support is reaching the most affected families.

How Can You Help Your Child To Catchup?

Catchup policies need to be at the forefront of teachers and schools’ minds, especially for disadvantaged students. The focus should now be on how to reach the students who are most in need of education catchup in the right way and how take-up can be improved.

We have heard about schemes such as the National Tutoring Programme and the extra budget that is supposedly available to help students recover from their missed learning. However, based on the feedback we have received from both parents and teachers, it is not obvious where this extra budget is being spent or how it can be accessed to help students in their education recovery.

The reality for many parents is that they have had to start looking for alternative provisions to help keep their child’s education on track.


Parents are taking the responsibility of their child’s education recovery into their own hands, opting for private tutors, online learning programmes and other traditional and digital educational resources outside the classroom.

If you would like to support your child in their studies and help them recover from the missed learning of the past two years, why not find out more about Tutorwiz.

Tutorwiz is an online learning programme that helps students of all ages (KS1 – GCSE) build confidence and excel in their studies. Tutorwiz’s hybrid model of combining real-life tutor support with interactive online activities and games means that pupils of all abilities can do better in their studies, whether they need an extra helping hand or are already at the top of their class.

Tutorwiz’s online platform enables students to learn at their own pace, at a time and in an environment that suits them. Our hybrid system means that students have access to private tutor support whenever they get stuck, helping them understand a topic properly rather than just moving on to the next subject.

Tutorwiz incentivises a student’s education through our rewards programme, helping pupils to see value in their studies. Our huge catalogue of interactive games, activities, workbooks, quizzes, and more has already helped hundreds of students in their education recovery! Find out more today.

Want to find out more about how Tutorwiz can help your child to catchup?



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