The EIS has warned that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a disproportionate impact on young people from less advantaged backgrounds.

Without sufficient intervention and support, the consequences of the pandemic could further entrench the disadvantage experienced by young people currently living in poverty.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a damaging impact on the education of young people right across Scotland, and it is young people already facing disadvantage who have felt this most acutely. Young people from less affluent backgrounds are far less likely to have access to the types of resources that are available to young people in other areas, which has clearly had an impact during the pandemic. Young people living in poverty were far more likely to disengage from education during the lockdown period for a wide range of reasons – including lack of access to IT equipment or suitable access to the internet. This has the potential to further entrench, or even widen, the poverty-related attainment gap that persists in many parts of Scotland.”

Mr Flanagan added, “With all schools set to move to a remote learning model, for at least a week, as schools return following the holiday period, it is essential that we ensure that no young person is disadvantaged as a result. The move to a temporary online learning model from next week for most pupils was a necessary and correct decision – but this must be properly supported for it to be delivered successfully across Scotland.”

He concluded, “Longer term, to ensure we have an education led recovery from the impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Parliament needs to commit investment into every area of education - pre-5; Primary and Secondary; Colleges; and Higher Education.”

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