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Research identifies impact of Covid-19 on socio-emotional wellbeing, and language and communication in early years pupils

Posted on 12 May 2021

A team of researchers led by Dr Louise Tracey in the Department of Education’s Psychology in Education Research Centre are investigating the relationship between Reception children’s experiences of the pandemic and their socio-emotional wellbeing, language, and numeracy skills.

The research, commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation, is conducted in partnership with Dr Claudine Bowyer-Crane at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and Dr Sara Bonetti at the Education Policy Institute. Results are based on survey data from 58 primary schools and the views of 673 parents.

The project’s interim report, launched in April 2021, reveals that over three-quarters of new school starters were felt to need extra support compared with previous years. All 58 of the schools surveyed declared at the start of the school year that they were concerned about the cohort’s personal, social and emotional development, as well as their communication and language skills.

The next stage of the research will see the team, which also includes Dr Dea Nielsen and Sarah Compton at the University of York, further exploring the work schools undertook to tackle these issues, as well as analysing data showing the impact of the third lockdown on this year group.

The ultimate aim of the research is to inform future strategies for school starters and their development.

For further details see: