Simon Burgess, Professor of Economics, University of Bristol
Hans Sievertsen, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Bristol
UNESCO estimates that around 1.5 billion children were unable to attend school in the spring of 2020. Closed schools mean lost learning, lower skills and reduced life chances and wellbeing.
A strategy for closing this learning gap needs to be rapid, school-based rather than online, and provided in addition to regular school. Given the size of the learning gap, it requires significant investment. Most importantly, there must be evidence of its effectiveness.
The policy that best fits these criteria is small-group tutoring, based in schools. This is the focus of the UK government’s new flagship catch-up programme, available to state schools in England.