Hundreds of thousands of students with disabilities could face unfair grades this year, charities warn

children are put under "tremendous" pressure by an ongoing narrative about education that emphasizes the need to "catch up" Learn Lost during the pandemic, experts have warned.

It comes amid speculation that the government is considering summer schools, extended school days, or shorter summer vacations to help children make up for lost education due to school closings.

Sir Kevan Collins, the government's new Tsar for the Restoration of Education, said earlier this month that teachers are being asked to extend study time for children in light of the disruption by the Coronavirus pandemic.

But educational psychologists have warned that the focus on catching up is putting pressure on children and urged the government to reconsider that focus.

Young people should be supported through socialization and play if the government decides to extend the time they spend in school, the British Psychological Society (BPS) has called.

"The pandemic has disrupted all aspects of life and it is unrealistic to expect children who have experienced this disorder to settle down for additional formal learning after the experiences they have had," said Dr. Dan O & # 39; Hare, Co-Chair of the BPS. Department of Educational and Child Psychology said.

"Formal classes must of course continue, but we should not simply expect children and young people to pick up where they left off and" make up "for any gaps in their learning right away.

"This puts tremendous and unnecessary pressure on children who have been through an extraordinary and potentially stressful period."

Dr. O’Hare said creating time and space for children to express themselves through play is a "useful tool" to help them process what happened.

"Regardless of a child's or adolescent's circumstances, we cannot assume that the right thing to do to support their recovery and well-being is to have them spend longer in class each day," he added.

PlayFirstUK – which includes 15 child psychologists and education specialists – said that this summer, for health reasons, young people will be allowed to play with friends instead of taking extra classes.

Sir Kevan, the new commissioner for the restoration of education, spoke to the BBC earlier this month about the importance of reflecting on other areas beyond academic study where children have lost due to the pandemic.

"I think we need to think about the extra hours that are required not only for studying but also for the kids to be together, playing, competitive sports, music and drama as these are critical areas that are in theirs Development have been overlooked. "He said

Last year the Coronavirus pandemic Most of the students stayed at home from March to early June, when some age groups were allowed to return to the classroom in England.

While all students were allowed to return from September through the end of the fall semester, children had to learn remotely when asked to self-isolate as close contact with a coronavirus case.

Towards the end of the year, according to the Department of Education (DfE), there were hundreds of thousands of children in England every week who were unable to attend classrooms.

Schools went online in early January for all students except vulnerable and key workers. Students are expected to return on March 8, however, as easing restrictions announced by Boris Johnson on Monday have been lifted.

Dr. BPS's O’Hare said it was "perfectly understandable" that parents were concerned that their children were missing out on "many aspects of their formal education" during the pandemic.

"However, the notion that children will have to catch up or 'lag' in school due to the pandemic reinforces the idea that children have 'a shot' at their education and puts even more pressure on them after what it was to achieve academic achievement. A challenging and unprecedented time for everyone, ”he said.

An Education Department spokesman said, "We know the pandemic is having an impact on the mental health and well-being of many children and adolescents, so we are working to fully reopen schools as soon as possible."

"Our guidance has highlighted the importance of pastoral support in both school and remote care, including counseling and support on psychological wellbeing."

They added: "The £ 650 million catch-up bonuses can be used for pastoral support activities as needed to aid reintegration and recovery.

"To help children return to school, our £ 8 million Wellbeing for Education Return program is funding local education workers to help respond to the emotional and mental health pressures some children and adolescents face. "

Additional coverage by the Press Association

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