Children and young people share their school experience before and during COVID-19

Date: 3rd September 2021
Category: COVID-19

two people holding a report outside Hollyrood

Between May and July 2021, 111 children and young people shared their experience of feeling listened to and respected, learning at school and home, and how confident they felt at completing homework during the home learning phase of lockdown. These views were gathered via a survey and four participative focus groups.

Hearing from children and young people from Aberdeen, Dundee, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, and West Dunbartonshire, below is a summary of their experiences:

  • Experiences of learning on the second return to school were more positive than pre-covid: Children and young people enjoyed school more, felt more confident doing their homework, more interested in learning, and better supported by their teachers during the second return to school than they did pre-pandemic.
  • Home schooling negatively impacted all areas of learning: Children and young people’s enjoyment of school, confidence in completing homework, interest in learning, and the level to which they felt supported, were lowest during home learning phases.
  • Confidence in completing homework was particularly low during home learning phases: Only 15% of children and young reported being interested in learning, and just 16% confident in completing their homework during the first home learning phase.
  • Children and young people want to be heard and respected: Feeling listened to and respected was a key issue for children and young people supported by Includem, who emphasised their wish for school staff to get to know them and to understand the roots of their behaviours and their individual needs.
  • An ‘every day’s a new leaf’ approach to behaviour is crucial: Young people expressed a clear wish to be treated with mutual respect and for their rights to be respected regardless of their previous behaviour – commenting on the negative impact of school exclusion and the use of isolation, and how this breached their rights.
  • To enable effective learning, the gap between engaging with education at home and school must be bridged: Includem’s relationship-based support model has been proven to ‘bridge the gap’ between home and school – helping young people to engage more fully with their education in a way that works for them and supporting school staff to build positive relationships and connections.

Read Includem’s report here.