Dr Jake Anders (UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities)
There is increasing evidence of the inequalities in pupils’ experiences of COVID-19 restrictions and how these have reflected and exacerbated existing gender, ethnic and socio-economic inequalities. The COVID Social Mobility & Opportunities study (COSMO) has been launched as a new youth cohort study motivated by the overarching research question: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the life chances of pupils of different characteristics both in terms of short-term effects on educational attainment and wellbeing, and long-term educational and career outcomes? We present findings from the newly released Wave 1 of COSMO focussing on inequalities in young people’s experiences during and since the pandemic (including home schooling experiences; return to school experiences), as well as wider attitudes, aspirations and plans. Our work demonstrates the importance of understanding the ongoing and diverse impacts of the pandemic across multiple domains, both for education practitioners and policymakers. It also showcases some of the potential of COSMO data for researchers planning further work to understand these impacts.