COVID-19 Research and Policy Observatory

Dad and daughter reading

National lockdowns and partial school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic meant many children missed several months of school, and many families spent more time at home, over 2020 and 2021.

This overview, intended to act as a national observatory of literacy and recovery research, gathers research, insights and policy developments relating to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's learning, literacy and wellbeing, with a particular focus on less advantaged children and young people.

View the key findings and summary

We are grateful to the many organisations and researchers engaged in exploring and measuring the impact of the pandemic, national lockdowns and school closures on children and young people's learning and wellbeing. The many studies taking place in this area provide essential information about the impact of school closures, lockdowns and ongoing disruption to education (for example, during periods of self-isolation) on children and young people's literacy.

However, while new data is emerging daily, longer-term outcomes are still hard to predict. The observatory will be updated regularly in order to monitor new research, assessments and policy developments as these are released, and our insight and analysis will evolve alongside the evidence base. We hope that drawing together key findings focusing on literacy across the early years, primary and secondary age groups will help inform all those supporting children’s literacy, from parents and teachers to businesses and policymakers.

“We want to improve literacy outcomes for all children, focusing on disadvantaged communities where the impact of lockdown on learning has been the most damaging. While the data may be stark, it reaffirms the essential importance of our work as well as the critical role research and evidence must play in informing policy decisions.
Jonathan Douglas CBE FRSL, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust

Read our analysis and recommendations

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How we can help

We offer support and resources for teachers, parents and practitioners working to help support those most affected by COVID-19.

  • Visit our education recovery pages for more details about how we can help you deliver your recovery curriculum
  • Visit our new Teacher Wellbeing platform, dedicated to supporting and improving all education professionals’ mental wellbeing.
Find out more about education recovery

Our analysis

We have produced in detail analysis and policy recommendations to help you navigate the effects of COVID-19 and identify key priorities

Find out more about our latest research

Support our work

Help us ensure 200,000 children do not fall further behind. This is an urgent appeal to support Literacy Recovery of children and young people in our most disadvantaged communities.

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