Inequalities in time spent home learning
How much home learning are pupils doing? How does this vary by pupil and family characteristics?
Unsurprisingly, our analyses suggest that children are spending far less time on school-work than they would be if they were in school. Of special concern is that they also show marked differences in the time that children are spending on home learning depending on whether they are primary or secondary pupils, eligible for free school meals, boys or girls, the children of graduates, and how financially comfortable their household is. Our results imply that the education of specific groups of pupils is likely to be particularly disrupted by school closures, and that these groups are likely to need additional support to avoid any long-term negative impact of the school closures on their educational outcomes.
These results are based on analyses of responses between 5th May and 30th June to an online survey from 2710 parents of school-aged children in the UK. 1694 parents responded about a child in primary school and 1016 about a child in secondary school. The results are based primarily on parents’ responses to the question “How much time did your child spend on their schoolwork during an average day at home in the last two weeks?”
Overall time spent on home learning for primary and secondary school pupils.
47% of primary school pupils spend 1-3 hours a day home learning, with 28% spending just one hour or less.
44% of secondary school pupils spend 2-4 hours a day on home learning, with 16% spending one hour or less.
12% of primary school pupils and 10% of secondary pupils are spending just 30 minutes or less home learning a day.
Inequalities by gender.
31% of boys and 24% of girls at primary school are doing less than an hour a day of home learning. 23% of boys and 28% of girls are doing three hours or more.
16% of boys and 13% of girls at secondary school are doing one hour or less, and 43% of boys and 50% of girls are doing three hours or more.
Inequalities between key worker and non-key worker parents.
28% of primary school pupils with at least one parent who is a key worker are doing one hour or less of home learning a day, compared to 25% of pupils whose parents are not key workers.
Primary school pupils with at least one parent who is a key worker are less likely to be doing three hours or more of home learning a day (21%), compared to those whose parents are not key workers (30%).
These differences are small for secondary school pupils.
Inequalities by pupils’ eligibility for free school meals.
36% of primary school pupils who are eligible for free school meals spend one hour or less a day on home learning, compared to 25% of pupils not eligible.
25% of secondary school pupils who are eligible for free school meals spend one hour or less a day on home learning, compared to just 13.5% of pupils not eligible.
These figures suggest that home learning may exacerbate the existing attainment gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and those not eligible, and that the increase in the gap caused by the school closures may be larger in secondary schools than primary schools.
Inequalities by family financial situation.
There are inequalities based on parents’ self-reported financial situation, with pupils of parents who are financially comfortable tending to engaging in more home learning than pupils whose parents are financially struggling. However, these results are quite complex and not always linear.
Inequalities between graduate and non-graduate parents.
33% of primary pupils with non-graduate parents are engaging in one hour or less of home learning a day, compared to 21% of pupils with at least one parent who is a graduate. 18% of children of non-graduates are doing three hours or more a day, compared with 29% of children of graduates.
25% of secondary pupils with non-graduate parents are doing one hour or less of home learning a day, compared to 11.5% for pupils with at least one parent who is a graduate. 36% of children of non-graduates are doing three hours or more a day, compared with 51.5% of children of graduates.