Parents call for Covid recovery plans to help pre-school children

Parents call for Covid recovery plans to help pre-school children

The Sutton Trust has called for the development and wellbeing of pre-school children to be put at the heart of the education recovery plan. - Credit: PA

Over half of parents feel that the government has not done enough to support the development of pre-school age children during the pandemic, a survey suggests.

The Sutton Trust has called for the development and wellbeing of pre-school children to be put at the heart of the education recovery plan.

A YouGov poll commissioned by the social mobility charity found one in five parents of two-four year olds surveyed felt that their child’s physical development had been impacted negatively during the pandemic, and a quarter felt similarly about their language development. 

However, a much bigger concern for parents is the impact on their child’s social and emotional development, with just over half (52pc) citing this as being negatively impacted.

Trust founder and chair, Sir Peter Lampl, said: “No one doubts that the impact of the pandemic on children’s and young people’s life chances is going to have repercussions for many years – even decades – to come. 

“Our own research has highlighted the disproportionate impact of school closures on poorer students, who have struggled most with homeschooling."

The Sutton Trust research echoes a survey by nursery provider Busy Bees that found 60pc of parents in the region believe that lockdown has set back their children's development. 

Former local head Geoff Barton, who is now general secretary of the ASCL headteacher union, said: “We fully agree with the need to make investment in early years education a key part of the education recovery plan following the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an area which has received far too little attention from the government – both before and during the pandemic – despite the clear evidence of the crucial role that early years education plays in children’s outcomes and life chances."

Earlier this month Norfolk County Council said it had provided “significant support” to all early years providers throughout the pandemic.

“This has included making full use of the flexibilities made to conditions of Early Years funding from central government,” they added.

A Department for Education spokesperson said the government had invested £18m to support language development in the early years. 

“We know the early years are the most crucial point of a child’s development, which is why we have prioritised them throughout the pandemic by keeping nurseries open,” they said.