The Uk's first covid case was confirmed 2 years ago today after a 23-year-old student and his family travelled from Hubei (a Chinese province) to York and subsequently tested positive. Less than 2 months later the government announced the sudden closure of all schools in England and the cancellation of exams after infection rates rose and the death toll exceeded 100.

For students of all ages and parents across the country, this provoked panic. Students were made to engage in online learning for months until some schools partially reopened in June 2020, but by that point the damage had already been done. Younger primary school children missed out on vital socialisation and learning, with parents having to take on the role of a teacher while also juggling their own career. This resulted in both students and parents struggling, and pushed children back in terms of their development. Younger children not being able to socialise and play with others their age can have a detrimental effect on their development, although researchers have differing opinions on whether children can catch up on this development without any consequences because it is too early for professionals to state the definitive effect of the pandemic on children just yet. 


For secondary school and sixth form students, many had one thing on their mind and one thing only, their exams. The immediate cancellation of exams in 2020 led to year 13s (at the time) getting grades based on teacher predictions and Ofqual’s controversial algorithm, although soon after, this was scrapped and GCSE students were awarded teacher assessed grades due to the backlash Ofqual faced from the algorithm. While this was unfolding, year 10 and year 12 students were told that their exams were going ahead as planned, regardless of the fact that they had spent months learning from home. 


Flash-forward to September 2020 and the Government still insisted that GCSE and A level exams would go on as promised, even though many students felt as if they were not prepared for exams due to missing out on so much learning and content. This led to students becoming increasingly worried about their future and whether they would be able to progress onto the next step in terms of their education because of how much they missed out on, and whether A level students would be able to compete with last year's year 13s when it came to university applications. After 4 months of panic for students at the beginning of the school year, in January 2021 the government cancelled exams and the country again went into a national lockdown. Although this news eased the pressure for a lot of students, many still felt worried about how this would affect their next steps. Before the cancellation of exams, the department of education proposed that content was to be taken out of assessments due to teachers not having enough time to cover the full curriculum, which meant that students entered their next year of education without knowledge of certain topics that they may have needed to have a prior understanding of for their further studies. This makes the next stage in their education a lot more difficult than it needs to be and means that yet another year passes where the pandemic still has a negative impact on students.

Even though it looks like national lockdowns and full school closures may be a thing of the past, the pandemic has had a lasting effect on students and their education, and many are still suffering the consequences now. Whether that be struggling with socialisation, not getting into their dream university, or not having a grasp on the content needed for their next steps. Even in a couple of years' time, the effects of the pandemic will still linger and leave a sour taste in the mouth of affected students.