“It isn’t a priority.” Will primary science learning loss be forgotten?

Canovan, Cherry orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9751-5646 and Fallon, Naomi orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6997-2719 (2021) “It isn’t a priority.” Will primary science learning loss be forgotten? The Journal of Emergent Science, 21 . pp. 46-53.

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This study is Part Two of an ongoing investigation into the impacts of the UK’s COVID‐19‐related school closures on primary science teaching and learning. In Part One, conducted during the closures of spring 2020, we found that science teaching had suffered in ways that were likely to entrench inequality in who can access STEM education and careers. The research reported in this paper, conducted during the second round of closures in early 2021, found that little progress had been made in
mitigating science learning loss at primary level, with less than 10% of parents aware of any efforts in this regard. Meanwhile, a concerning number of teachers were worried that reversing science learning loss was not a priority for schools, and/ or reported that no efforts had been made to tackle this. Parents felt that, in general, home learning in the second closure period was much more effective than in 2020. However, science provision, although somewhat improved, was still perceived
by many to be disappointing in quantity and/or quality. Teachers were still finding science a challenge to teach, although one major barrier from the first closures, a lack of access to IT, had largely been addressed. The results show that a lack of ‘catch‐up’ activity risks science learning loss being forgotten, while the second round of closures has likely exacerbated the relative
learning loss in science over other ‘core’ subjects. Both these effects have negative implications for attempts to interest young people in STEM education and careers.

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