Lancaster University educational research informs Parliamentary committee


Lockdown 1 brought a loss of attachment relationships to many young children. Image by Rebecca Lupton.
Lockdown 1 brought a loss of attachment relationships to many young children. Image by Rebecca Lupton.

Lancaster University research, including the effect of cancelling exams, children’s mental health and keeping young people engaged in their studies, has been submitted to a Parliamentary Committee studying the effects of Covid-19.

Professor Jo Warin, from the University’s Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education (CSJWE), collated the response to an inquiry by the Department for Education into the impacts of Covid-19 on Education and Children’s Services.

The response, submitted to the UK Parliamentary Education Committee, included various elements of Covid-focused research and expertise within the Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education.

This included:

  • Dr Jan McArthur’s research on the social justice aspects of assessment. She looks at the impact of Covid-19 on the effect of cancelling formal exams, including the fairness of qualifications awarded and pupils’ progression to the next stage of education or employment.
  • Ongoing research by Dr Rebecca Hibbin and Professor Jo Warin, concerning children with Adverse Childhood Experiences, which has revealed how the pandemic has escalated a positive ‘can do’ approach to supporting these children in immensely difficult times.
  • Dr Sue Cranmer’s research on challenging inequalities that manifest and are reproduced in school pupils’ everyday uses of digital technologies.
  • Professor Robert Barratt, who with other leaders of the ‘Connecting Kids’ consortium including Project Manager Joe Bourne and Nik Marsden, enabled hundreds of children across Lancaster and Morecambe to maintain their engagement in learning and connection with their schools. The children received laptops, broadband and stationery packs - resources that provided the essential basics for children’s wellbeing and learning through the Covid-19 crisis.

The inquiry aimed to understand how Covid-19 has brought about short-term impacts and longer-term consequences for all aspects of the education sector and children’s social care sector especially for vulnerable children and young people.

Outcomes from this parliamentary consultation are still pending.

Professor Warin said: “The CSJWE has a wealth and longevity of research expertise into the education and care of children and young people especially those who are more vulnerable.

“This enables us to collaborate in making strong predictions about the ways that Covid-19 magnifies and compounds social disadvantage and translate our research into policies for pre-emptive positive change.”  

The CSJWE is one of three research centres within Lancaster University’s Department of Educational Research.

The network of active researchers explores questions about equity, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing in education.

Research spans a wide range of formal and informal education environments including schools, higher education, home and the workplace.

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