Follow-up from the Roundtable on the impact of COVID-19 on social mobility and disadvantaged pupils

A fantastic turn out to our Virtual Roundtable. It was great to be joined by Naomi Eisenstadt CB, David Johnston OBE MP and John Murphy, to discuss how we can close the attainment gap when pupils return to school.

Watch back here

As we shared at the virtual roundtable, in June this year, the FFT Education Datalab published an independent evaluation report commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) into the impact of SAM Learning on pupils’ GCSE attainment. This showed:

  • Stronger and significant positive outcomes for disadvantaged pupils (those eligible for free school meals) who use SAM Learning for 10 hours or more during Year 11. This effect was between a fifth and more than half a grade improvement in attainment per subject.
  • Significant positive outcomes for all pupils who used SAM Learning for ten hours or more during Year 11, with an increase of up to a third of a grade per subject.
  • FSM pupils were less likely to have 10 hours usage than non-FSM pupils, so more work is needed to introduce disadvantaged students to platforms like SAM Learning and encourage their use.

Click here to download the report

Reflecting on whether education technology is now a permanent part of the mix for teachers, students and their families, John Murphy, CEO of Oasis Community Learning said, “We’re very concerned about the lost learning time, if we think about really a period of five months from March to now…The way these programmes are actually relating to stage of knowledge that children are at, is prolific.”

Leading member of the Education Select Committee David Johnston OBE MP commented on the additionality that online learning and education technology could play, supporting the central role of face-to-face teaching and contact with teachers and other pupils. He commented, “we have a gender gap in education, we have an ethnicity gap in education; no gap is bigger between poor and non-poor children. At the end of KS2 the gap was 21% and 28% at the end of secondary school.”

For SAM Learning, whose mission for 20 years has been to provide a launch-pad for career and life for young people, the positive impact for students who used the platform for 10 hours or more demonstrates the key, growing role of online learning in a post-covid education and pedagogy space. The independent EEF-commissioned report showed, however, that disadvantaged students, who benefit most in terms of attainment at GCSE, use it the least.

Inaugural Director of the DfE’s Sure Start Unit, and Trustee of EEF Naomi Eisenstadt CB commented, “It’s really interesting what happened with the SAM study – this really works well but people that need it didn’t use it as much. ”

Contact SAM Learning

We are keen to continue the vital conversation about the impact of COVID-19 on social mobility and how to make sure the attainment gap is narrowed.

If you would like further information about the discussion or want to learn more about the impact SAM Learning is making on educational attainment please contact us at:

0845 130 4160

David Jaffa

CEO, SAM Learning and Founder of the Jaffa Foundation