From education to employment

How much are European countries spending on education recovery?

The Education Policy Institute is delighted to announce that our 2021 Annual Lecture was delivered today (30 Nov) by Melanie Ehren, Professor of Educational Governance, Vrijie Universiteit Amsterdam and director of research institute LEARN!

With pupils having missed out on months of lost learning following the pandemic, the education sector is looking collectively towards education recovery. Recent EPI research shows that by the end of spring term 2021, primary pupil learning losses were over 2 months in reading and over 3 months in maths. They recovered slightly by the summer term but remain substantial, at 2.2 months in maths and 0.9 months in English.

With pupils from the north of England and Midlands suffering greater learning losses than those in other regions, and disadvantaged pupils seeing larger losses than their more affluent peers,  it is evident that the pandemic has exacerbated the disadvantage gap in education. Education recovery strategies will be crucial to support pupils to catch up on lost learning and ensure that no child is left behind.

We are therefore delighted to be welcome Professor Ehren to share her insights on education recovery in the Netherlands and other developed countries, for the 2021 EPI Annual Lecture this afternoon, ‘International comparisons of education recovery’.

Supported by the British Academy, Professor Ehren’s 2021 lecture assessed different approaches by schools to address learning loss, analyse how funding is allocated and spent by schools and how research demonstrates that these programmes are impacting on learning outcomes in literacy, numeracy and socio-economic development. 

The lecture was opened by Dr Molly Morgan Jones, Director of Policy and Engagement at The British Academy

Professor Ehren’s lecture includes findings on education recovery funding rates across several EU nations (p.6), along with a summary of the recovery interventions used in these countries (p.7). 

While recovery funding for the four UK nations was not included in the EU study presented by Professor Ehren, we have included totals for each nation below.

These UK findings are intended to provide an insight into and broad overview of the different levels of funding committed by nations ‒ they are not directly comparable with those cited in the EU study. 

Figures for England were updated following the 2021 Spending Review in October. Figures for Scotland, Wales and NI are the latest from June 2021.

Other findings from Professor Ehren’s lecture include:  

  • That in the transition between Dutch primary and secondary phases, research shows that disadvantaged pupils and those from migrant backgrounds have lost out more from the temporary system of teacher-assessed grades. These pupils were more likely to be subsequently placed in lower tracks in secondary education than they ordinarily would have been.  
  • Low-income students saw the greatest level of learning loss, consistent with EPI learning loss findings for England, produced for the DfE.  
  • Dutch education recovery interventions were shown to have success in mitigating learning losses.  

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