Table of Contents

  • After 18 months of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic at students, teachers and parents, in most OECD countries, can look forward to a return to something close to ”normal” in schools. However, even in the absence of further disruption, as they move forward, education systems will need to deal with the effects of past disruption on students’ learning and well-being. What evidence do we have regarding these effects?

  • Online tools and platforms represented the predominant modes of delivery of lessons and instructional material for students as well as for communication between teachers and students. Hardcopy or paper-based materials continued to be used. The use of live online classes or interactions with teachers was rather limited. Teachers may have placed more emphasis on preserving pupils’ link with learning and reviewing content already covered earlier in the year than following the planned curriculum and introducing new content.

  • This introduction presents the objectives, methodology and data sources of the report. The report provides an initial overview of the available information regarding the circumstances, nature and outcomes of the education of schoolchildren during the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns of March-April 2020. Its purpose is primarily descriptive: it presents information from high quality quantitative studies on the experience of learning during this period in order to ground the examination and discussion of these issues in empirical examples.

  • This chapter presents information regarding the educational experience of schoolchildren during the school closures of March-June 2020. The source of information is primarily surveys of the parents of schoolchildren, supplemented with information from surveys of the pupils, teachers and other school staff and administrative data. The topics covered are: the setting of schooling; the mode of delivery of instruction; time spent on learning; support available from parents and others; challenges faced by children.

  • School closures were implemented as an element of more general confinement or lockdown restrictions on movement and social contacts outside the household, administrative closures of business, requirements to work at home, loss of earned income, etc. Added to the risk of infection and uncertainty about the evolution of the pandemic, the situation created considerable stress for parents. What were the home conditions in which children lived and undertook their school activities during school closures? To what extent was the home environment conducive to study? This chapter explores four dimensions of the home situation: the employment arrangements and financial circumstances of parents; the health situation within the household; the psychological well-being of parents; and the relationships and interaction within families.

  • The two previous chapters have examined the experience of schooling (during school closures in March to June 2020) and characteristics of the home situation of school age children. In this chapter, the available evidence regarding children’s psychological well-being and academic progress during this period is examined. How well did school-age children cope with the period of lockdown and school closures? Was the academic progress of school children slowed during this period and, if so, to what extent?

  • This chapter summarises the main methodology and findings of the report. Limiting its conclusions to information drawn on studies based on probability samples in the few countries that carried them out during the first wave of lockdowns, the chapter reviews the main findings concerning: schooling and delivery of educational content during the lockdowns; how the lockdown affected the parental employment situation; the impact on family’s well-being and health; the impact on academic progress. It then concludes and calls for caution and patience in establishing (and also estimating) the possible impact of school closures on academic achievement.