Kids could earn less money in their lifetime due to Covid school closures - according to a new report

Monday, 1st February 2021, 11:18 am
Updated Monday, 1st February 2021, 11:18 am
Kids could earn less money in their lifetime due to Covid school closures - according to a new report (Photo: Shutterstock)

School closures could mean a £40,000 drop in lifetime earnings for the children impacted, according to a new report.

Money pledged by the Government to make up for the loss of teaching will not be enough to offset the damage, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

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The report also states that disadvantaged children are likely to be the worst affected over their lives.

By mid-February 2021, many children will have lost at least half an academic year of teaching time, making up a significant proportion of their school career. This will have had a greater impact on those preparing for exams, and those with additional educational needs, argues the IFS.

While many schools have put in place exceptional remote learning programmes, the report suggests that inevitably some children will leave school with poorer results than they would have done due to the pandemic.

The IFS estimates that the reduction of teaching time could lead to a loss of between £90 billion and £350 billion in lifetime earnings, among the 8.7 million children currently in school.

At worst, this would equate to £40,000 lost in lifetime earnings for someone earning the average wage in the UK.

Calls for more funding to support catch up learning

The figure is based on research from the World Bank which found that a year in education increases someone’s annual earnings by eight per cent in a country like the UK.

However, it should be noted that the World Bank’s findings refer to a loss of teaching altogether, rather than a programme of online learning in place of face-to-face teaching.

While the estimates put forward in the report are intended to be an “illustration, rather than a precise prediction” the IFS is now calling on the Government to offer more funding to support ‘catch up’ services than the £1.5 billion currently allocated.

As well as providing additional resources, the report suggests a number of measures which could be put in place to help pupils make up the lost teaching time. These include an extension of the school year, making the school day longer, large scale repetition of the school year or the introduction of summer schools.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education, said: “The government will work with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their learning over the course of this parliament.”