From education to employment

Reflecting on the Legacy of Two Years of Pandemic Trauma on Students – Implications for Library and Learning Resource Services

College student

The Covid pandemic is being blamed for ‘cultural shift’ as more pupils skip school. The Guardian newspaper on the 14th January 2023 reported on absenteeism and the attendance crisis; heightened fears of illness and mental health issues compounded by problems in the NHS, outbreaks of strep A, scarlet fever and the cost of living crisis. What of the impact on Further Education?

Early in 2022 the alarming rise in Covid infections across the UK indicated that this debilitating pandemic was far from over and it continues to adversely impact the education sector. The Department for Education’s announcement of changes to Covid safety measures in April 2022 left staff struggling to deliver teaching, learning and a high quality student experience.

To explore the role that library and learning resource services staff are playing in supporting the wider Covid agenda, the Council for Learning Resources in College’s (CoLRiC) issued a call for feedback on its discussion forum and invited member Colleges to an online seminar in May 2022.

CoLRiC asked four questions.

➢ Have you experienced any rise in student mental health and wellbeing issues?
➢ Do you have examples of lower levels of knowledge and skills that have impacted on student induction, reading, numeracy or information literacy?
➢ Have you experienced a deterioration in student behaviour and attitudes that have impacted on the ability to manage library and learning resources services? (Ambivalence to learning and non-attendance in the classroom has been cited as one adverse effect of the lockdown.)
➢ How are you managing with staff recruitment and retention? Do you think that the pandemic and lockdown have encouraged some staff to reappraise their life and careers, or seek opportunities outside of the FE sector?

The full report of CoLRiC’s findings is available here.

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