University of Warwick: English and maths bootcamp to help local schoolchildren overcome Covid ‘learning loss’

A new programme designed to help local schoolchildren achieve key Maths and English qualifications following the disruption of Covid-19 is being launched by the University of Warwick and its partner University College Birmingham this month.

Starting in April, the partnership will be piloting a new Maths and English Bootcamp to support Year 11 pupils from local Birmingham schools towards securing a minimum Grade 4 in their GCSEs this summer.

The programme will feature a combination of revision and exam advice sessions delivered by University of Warwick students and University College Birmingham tutors alongside breakout sessions and workshops.

Maths and English undergraduate students from the University of Warwick have signed up to provide support and guidance to pupils during the breakout sessions.

The new programme comes as the UK Government revealed plans aiming to boost GCSE Maths and English grades across the country amid concern about how schoolchildren have been affected by two years of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A recent report for the Government by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) and Renaissance Learning examined the ‘learning loss’ experienced by pupils during the pandemic, with English and Maths skills seen to be less developed than for previous cohorts and pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds shown to have fallen furthest behind.

Chris Twine, Academic Registrar at the University of Warwick, said: “This is a fantastic initiative and will really benefit children who have been affected by the loss of so much face-to-face teaching during the pandemic.

“The Government’s analysis showed secondary school pupils have suffered terrible deprivation in learning due to the many restrictions of the pandemic. These are our future university students and it is something we can help to address.

“We have the expertise and support to assist schools in closing this gap, to help pupils reach their full potential and recover from the effects of the pandemic. We must not let the pandemic become a long-term stain on our children’s education.

“With the aid of our academics and wonderful students, this project can be a great first step in helping our children get back on track. It is also testament to the burgeoning partnership we are building with University College Birmingham.”

Speaking about the benefits of the programme for pupils and the local community, Gavin Cole, Director of English and Mathematics at University College Birmingham, said: “We are aware of the impact the pandemic has had upon students’ learning.

“As a university located in the heart of Birmingham, we believe in placing numeracy and literacy at the centre of the curriculum. We know how important these skills are for learners whatever their chosen pathway.

“By collaborating with local schools and the University of Warwick, we believe that we can play a vital role in helping students to achieve their goals. This pilot is an example of our commitment to the communities we serve.”

The pilot of the Maths and English Bootcamp will take place at University College Birmingham over two evenings on 26 April and 3 May, with future plans to expand and deliver the programme on an annual basis.

University College Birmingham is committed to supporting skills development in the local community and to widening participation in further and higher education for all who have the ambition and commitment to succeed, regardless of academic or social background.

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