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Half of fifth and sixth year pupils experiencing 'major negative' impact on learning due to Covid-19

The findings are contained in the CSO’s latest ‘Social Impact of Covid-19 Survey’.

ALMOST HALF OF people with a child at Leaving Cert level have told the Central Statistics Office that the closure of schools due to Covid-19 has had a “major negative” impact on their child’s learning.

The latest findings from the CSO’s series ‘Social Impact of Covid-19 Survey’ also show that over a third of parents with a child in secondary school believe the enforced closure of schools has had a “major negative” impact on their child’s learning.

According to the survey, 47.9% of respondents with a child in fifth or sixth year told the CSO that ongoing school closures have had a “major negative” impact on their learning.

The figure falls to 33.6% for all respondents who had a child at second level, with the rate falling to 14.8% for parents with children at primary level.

The survey highlights the overall impact that school closures have had on students’ learning and social development.

Around one in three (33.6%) respondents with a child in secondary school said that closures have had a “major negative” impact on their child’s social development.

The rate for respondents with a child in primary school is one in five (20.9%).

Schools initially shut from March to August last year, when the first wave of Covid-19 in Ireland led to the closure of education settings.

Although schools re-opened in September to December, they stayed closed after Christmas in response to the third wave of the virus.

Sixth year students in secondary school and primary school pupils from junior infants to second class are set to return from next Monday, with a gradual re-opening for children in other classes and years in the weeks afterwards.

The CSO survey also shows how parents believe that their children are spending more time learning at home compared with the initial shutting of schools last year.

During the first enforced closure period from March to June 2020, three in ten (29.9%) people with a child in secondary school reported that their child spent five hours or more per day on learning activities provided by their secondary school.

However, the comparable rate for 2021 has risen to almost seven in ten (69.0%).

Meanwhile, seven in ten (70.3%) adults who are employed and who have a child in primary school have reported that the closure of primary schools since Christmas has had an impact on their work pattern.

And almost three in ten (28.4%) respondents who are employed and who have a child in primary school told the CSO that they are working the same hours but disjointed throughout the day or week.

The survey was carried out using an online electronic questionnaire, with a sample size of 1,621 people.

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