THE effects of the pandemic on children’s education will be examined in three new research studies by education experts across Wales, including Aberystwyth University.

The first study explores how schools have responded to the demands of distance and blended learning, identifies good practice, and considers lessons to be learned for schools as well as the future training of new teachers.

Researchers involved in the second study will look at the impact of school closures and phased reopening of schools on learners, especially those considered disadvantaged.

The third study will focus on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on learners in Welsh-medium education, particularly those living in non-Welsh speaking homes.

As part of their work, researchers are talking to teachers, learners, parents and carers to hear about their direct experiences.

Funded by the Welsh Government’s Department for Education, the research began in October 2020 and its conclusions will be presented to the government in May 2021.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “I’m so proud of how our universities in Wales have contributed to supporting the effort of fighting the coronavirus during this past year. This latest research will help to show how our young people and education system have been affected during the pandemic, and how we as a government can learn and adapt in the future.”

Research for the three studies is being carried out jointly by a number of universities across Wales who offer Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses.

  • Research Study 1: Increased emphasis on distance / blended learning – Aberystwyth, South Wales and Wrexham Glyndŵr Universities.
  • Research Study 2: Exploring the impact of Covid-19 school closures and phased reopening of schools on learners, particularly those considered disadvantage – University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), Aberystwyth University and Bangor University.
  • Research Study 3: The impact of Covid-19 on learners in Welsh-medium education, and in particular those living in non-Welsh speaking homes – Bangor University, Aberystwyth University and UWTSD.

Dr Siân Lloyd-Williams from Aberystwyth University’s School of Education, a member of the team who has received a grant of £70,000 towards this work, said: “Covid-19 has forced a change in learning and teaching methods in our schools, leading to challenges for schools, learners, parents and carers. We have much to learn from this period and by undertaking these three research studies, the aim is to make useful recommendations for the sector as well as identifying the support needed as we prepare students on our courses for a future in teaching.”

Aberystwyth University’s School of Education offers Initial Teacher Education courses to teachers who want to work in the primary and secondary sector, and gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Further details can be found online: aber.ac.uk/en/education/itt-pgce/