Academic and social-emotional interventions in response to Covid-19 school closures.

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Since 23rd March 2020, UK schools have been closed for most children, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools are unlikely to re-open to the majority of pupils before September, meaning some will be out of school for more than six months. As school relationships serve as a buffer against psycho-social risks and against the risk of low academic attainment, particularly for children of low-income families (Masten and Barnes, 2018), the vulnerabilities of many children may have significantly increased as a consequence of the school closures. Research suggests that long absences from school are likely to have a negative effect on academic achievement and increase achievement gaps (see Sims, 2020). Inequalities in resources and time available to families to spend on home schooling is likely to exacerbate existing achievement gaps (see Dickson & Macmillan, 2020; Outhwaite, 2020). There may also be significant challenges to mental health and wellbeing in schools after lockdown (Lee, 2020). Children and young people have been away from the community and structure that school provides. Some may carry personal losses, and some may have experienced significant stressors in the family. Mental health and wellbeing are fundamental to learning and development (Panayiotou et al., 2019), and therefore must be prioritised in the post-lockdown transition and beyond. This briefing note summarises the empirical evidence on approaches to closing achievement gaps and supporting the most vulnerable children in academic, and social and emotional learning as schools can safely re-open.
Original languageEnglish
TypeBriefing note
PublisherUCL Centre For Education Policy & Equalising Opportunities.
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationUCL CEPEO
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • COVID - 19
  • Intervention
  • Academic achievement
  • Social and emotional learning


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