Rapid growth is bittersweet for Harrogate’s Kumon Centre, as the impact of lockdown on children’s education becomes evident
As our children return to some degree of normality concerning their schooling, hopefully ‘lockdown learning’ is now consigned to the history books. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates the average UK child will have missed over half a year of normal, in person schooling, by the time the pandemic is classified as truly over.
It’s hard to predict the impact of that kind of missed education, which equates to around 5% of a child’s entire time in school. However, some high quality, if depressing, evidence has emerged from the Netherlands. Dutch schools were closed for 8 weeks last Spring, and despite some of the best digital infrastructure in the world, ideal for home learning, empirical evidence shows test scores for primary school children were significantly lower than previous cohorts.
Further data from The Royal Society for Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics (DELVE), highlights similar concerns, particularly for younger children. DELVE state that younger primary school children are most impacted upon by missed school, in terms of development and cognitive skills.
It is perhaps unsurprising then that some providers of tuition and supplementary education in Harrogate are in high demand. Parents are very keen to do everything they can to help offset any negative impact on their children’s education.
One such provider is The Harrogate Kumon Centre in Westmoreland Street. The centre had been based in St. Mark’s Church for more than a decade but made the move to a new high street premises right as the pandemic hit.
Centre manager and qualified teacher David Riddle said “I decided to move to a high street education centre long before anyone had even heard of covid-19. The last 18 months or so have been really tough for me and all businesses who were forced to close their doors. But all things considered, I’m really glad we did it. Our new centre has the resources, know-how and expertise to play our part in helping to offset and impact on children’s education caused by the pandemic”.
Kumon originated in Japan and follows a tried and tested, very traditional way of helping children improve and excel in mathematics and English. In an increasingly ‘virtual world’, Kumon students use pencils, paper, and their brain power to improve their mental maths. Regarding English, Kumon helps children to read, to write and to spell. Moreover, the children are empowered via the Kumon programmes independent approach.
There are already over 100 children enrolled with The Harrogate Kumon Centre and demand is growing as parents and schools begin to identify potential learning gaps.
“In many ways we are doing exactly what Kumon has always done for over 60 years. We’re helping children of all ages between 3–18-years-old. Our programmes allow very gifted children to absolutely fly. Some of our students are over 3 years ahead of their peers for maths. By the same token, we also help children who find maths and English very challenging. We also help children with SEN issues, we help build self-esteem, confidence, and pride in all our students. Perhaps most importantly, we also work very hard to ensure all the children are happy while they’re learning.”, added David.
“It’s always been my ambition to grow our Kumon centre and to be able to help more children. Although as a dad of two young boys myself, when I see what the pandemic has done to the development of some of our children, it’s heart-breaking. My team and I will do everything we can to help ensure your child still fulfils their true potential. We will not let covid-19 win where our children’s education is concerned”.