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Young people worried about catching up on their studies after lockdown, survey suggests

18 March 2021

More than a quarter of secondary-age pupils in Wales were spending three days or less on school tasks during the first lockdown, research has shown.

The survey, conducted by academics at Cardiff University, asked young people in years seven to 12 about their home learning experiences during summer last year, as well as focusing on their mental wellbeing and daily habits.
Its results show 28% of young people were spending three days or fewer on home schooling activities, with 47% spending five days.

Figures also reveal more than half (53%) of children in year seven were worried about catching up on their studies, which rose to 71% of year 10 students.

More than a quarter of young people surveyed worried about whether their family had enough money to get by.

Dr Catherine Foster, based at the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD), said: ““Our findings show the worries and challenges young people and their families have faced since the start of COVID-19. The results show that children miss their friends and teachers and will welcome a return to school, yet they do also worry about the safety of those around them.

“Nearly three quarters of the young people in Year 10 we surveyed were worried about catching up on their studies when we asked the questions last year, a concern shared by almost half in their first year of secondary school. It is therefore crucial to support young people in preparing for the next stage of their education and ensuring stress over missed work does not impact their future engagement with learning.”

A majority of those questioned said they appreciated their family more (70%) while 41% said they had a greater interest in politics and a third were thinking more about where their food came from.

Dr Foster added: “While greater appreciation of family and thinking about our food sources is a good thing, we must not lose sight of how difficult the past year has been for young people. Concerns shared by the majority about school and loved ones mean that mental health and wellbeing should be a key focus going forward for all services engaging with young people.”

The results of the survey, taken from 2020 WISERD Education Multi-Cohort Study, are available to view here.

WISERD is a member of Cardiff University’s Social Science Research Park (SPARK) - a collective of leading social science research groups that work together to develop innovative solutions to societal problems through collaborative research activity, and will be co-located in a new innovation hub, sbarc, later this year.

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