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  • Matt Easterbrook

Inequalities in Home Learning: Time spent home learning

Executive Summary

These results are based on analyses of the final sample of 5528 responses collected between 5th May and 31st July. Of these, 2075 responses were from teachers and 3409 from parents of school-aged children in the UK. The results in this report are based on the responses of parents.


Download the full report here:

Research report #1 (Time)
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Download PDF • 544KB

The focus of this report is on inequalities in home learning experiences between pupils eligible for free school meals and those not eligible for free school meals. 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?”


Unsurprisingly, our analyses suggest that children spent far less time on school-work than they would if they had been in school. Of special concern is that they also show marked differences in the time that children spent 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 have been 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.


Overall time spent on home learning for primary and secondary school pupils.

  • 74% of primary school pupils spent 1-3 hours a day home learning, with 27% spending just one hour or less.

  • 43% of secondary school pupils spent 2-4 hours a day on home learning, with 15% spending one hour or less.

Inequalities by gender.

  • 30% of boys and 23% of girls at primary school did less than an hour a day of home learning. 23% of boys and 28% of girls did three hours or more.

  • 17% of boys and 13% of girls at secondary school did one hour or less, and 42% of boys and 52% of girls did three hours or more.

Inequalities between key worker and non-key worker parents.

  • The differences between pupils who have at least one parent who is a key worker and those who don’t are minimal.

Inequalities by pupils’ eligibility for free school meals.

  • 34% of primary school pupils who are eligible for free school meals (FSM) spent one hour or less a day on home learning, compared to 25% of pupils not eligible.

  • 23% of secondary school pupils who are eligible for FSM spent one hour or less a day on home learning, compared to just 14% of pupils not eligible.

  • These figures suggest that home learning may have exacerbated 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 engage 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.

  • 31% of primary pupils with non-graduate parents engaged in one hour or less of home learning a day, compared to 24% of pupils with at least one parent who is a graduate. 18% of children of non-graduates did three hours or more a day, compared with 29% of children of graduates.

  • 18.4% of secondary pupils with non-graduate parents did one hour or less of home learning a day, compared to 12% for pupils with a graduate parent. 42% of children of non-graduates did three hours or more a day, compared with 52% of children of graduates.

Download the full report here:

Research report #1 (Time)
.pdf
Download PDF • 544KB

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