A new report out of the United Kingdom found that lockdowns have had devastating effects on education, with youngest children likely to be disadvantaged long term.

The report, produced by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), found that up to 25% more students needed help with basic language and speech skills than before the pandemic. The report studied 50,000 four and five year-old students and 58 primary schools across England.

According to their findings, 76% of educators reported students needing more help with communication skills and 56% of parents worried about how their children will fare in the classroom after lockdowns.

EEF chief executive Professor Becky Francis told the BBC there is a “huge concern expressed by schools about young children’s speech and language following the impact of the pandemic.”

“We can see that in the survey results but also anecdotally right across our networks.”

The EFF’s research suggests deprivement at a young age will result in long term difficulties in development.

All around the world, students have suffered as lockdowns have kept schools closed. Educators in Canada are also reporting similar declines in communication skills in students. 

In March, the Toronto District School Board found that the percentage of students meeting Grade 1 reading level expectations fell by 10% as a result of lockdowns.

On average, students lost 3.5 months of school in 2020 due to lockdowns, with educators in Canada reporting students are falling behind in key skills. 

Student mental health is also at an all-time low. According to Morneau Shepell’s November 2020 Mental Health Index report, full-time students have the lowest mental health score when compared to individuals across all industry sectors. 

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