Covid-19 has given us a harsh lesson in education inequality

Written by Chloe Roberts

Tags: communications education event

Although ‘Freedom Day’ is here, Covid’s effects will, as we hear all too often, be felt for years to come.

One sector that has had more than its fair share to deal with is education. Covid has meant months of missed lessons and face to face contact with teachers and peers for thousands of pupils. Official government data shows that the number of pupils absent from schools in England for Covid-related reasons is at its highest since schools fully reopened in March, with almost 840,000 children out of class last week.

This is of course not to mention the disruption and frustration it has caused for teachers and parents – many of whom were left juggling work, family and childcare.

In Grace’s recent blog, she talked about how Covid has exposed and exacerbated inequalities across all facets of life. However, it has also created a unique moment, amid the chaos, to stop and re-evaluate what we really value, how we do things and how to make things better.

This is all too true of our education system which, Maccs Pescatore, CEO of Montessori Centre International, says “isn’t working as well as it should and hasn’t done for a long time because the sector has been woefully underfunded.”

And while the pandemic has impacted the whole education sector, the early years is rarely spoken about.

Maccs continues, “When we speak about education, we more often than not mean primary, secondary, and tertiary ages. We rarely mean age five and below. Education has always been talked about in the education sphere. But what’s become very clear throughout the pandemic is that the discussion has been brought into the public forum.”

For the first time parents have become more unified and have started really voicing their opinions. The environment has changed, and parents’ voices have responded to the situation they find themselves in.

“That’s both interesting and powerful,” Maccs says, “because it brings into stark contrast the question around what education is about, who it’s for, what’s its purpose and who should get involved. Now policymakers, practitioners, teachers and parents are starting to talk about education in its broadest sense.

“That goes all the way through to not just what it is, but how it is done and how to educate – and that depends on who you’re educating.”

This week during our panel event ‘Has the pandemic set us back 50 years, or will it propel us forward?’ we’ll be discussing all of this as well as how the Montessori approach enables children to develop self-confidence and resilience, and what better looks like for the future of education.

Join us and other experts from the world of mental health, social affairs, and behaviour change on the 22nd July. For further details and to RSVP, please click here.


More information about the event:

Topic: Has the pandemic set us back 50 years, or will it propel us forward?

Date: Thursday 22nd July 2021, 3:30-6pm

Location: Gridiron Building, Meeting rooms 6-8, 1 Pancras Square King’s Cross, London N1C 4AG


Sarah O’Grady, Social Affairs Correspondent, Daily Express


Maccs Pescatore, CEO, Montessori Centre International

Dr Jennifer Opoku-Lageyre, Chartered Counselling Psychologist, Clinical Partners

Andy Ratcliffe, Executive Director of Programmes at Impact on Urban Health

Laura Oliphant, Founder and MD, Stand

Indicative timings:

Arrival and conversation: 3:30pm

Panel discussion and Q&A: 4-5

Drinks and conversation: 5-6pm

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