British schoolchildren more violent due to lockdown–causes developmental delays: BBC study

A recent study commissioned by the BBC has found that schools have become increasingly violent since Covid-19 lockdowns forced children to learn from home for almost two years.

Experts and parents alike have long suggested that pandemic-era isolation has had a negative impact on youths' social skills, with many warning that physical force being used as a way to express emotions could increase as a result.

The study, conducted via the Teacher Tapp application among nearly 9,000 primary and secondary school teachers across England in February and March, asked about how behaviour in the classroom has changed since in-person learning returned post-Covid.

More respondents than not said that they had seen students fighting with one another, pushing, and shoving more often compared with two years earlier. Nearly one in five teachers reported that they had been hit by a student at some point in the past year, with nearly 15 percent of secondary school teachers reporting that they had been sexually harassed by a student.

Around 40 percent of teachers said that they witnessed "aggressively violent behaviour that needed intervention," while 30 percent said they'd seen students fighting the week that they responded to the survey.

One educator said that they had seen children aged five and six throwing chairs, with those even younger "spitting and swearing" at one another.

As the BBC reports, the Department for Education says it has invested £10 million since 2020 in a "behaviour hub" program that helped problem schools learn how to better deal with students' violent actions. The program is set to wind down this year.

"Research shows that in some studies there is an identifiable lag between the social skills of those children who had online vs face to face teaching during the pandemic," Dr. Erica Bowen said, per the Daily Mail. "Coming out of lockdown and pandemic restrictions means that for some children there is a delay in their social and emotional development."
 

She argued that "the isolation and background of fear as well as the impact on families who experienced loss during this time will likely also have impacted children's mental health which then influences behaviour too – leading often to more 'acting out' behaviours."


Image: Title: UK violence
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