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Half of students say pandemic hit academic performance

ONS data also show majority of students say loss of face-to-face teaching damaged course quality

The huge impact of the pandemic on students has been highlighted by data showing that half of those in higher education before the coronavirus outbreak believe Covid-19 damaged their own performance and a similar proportion believe it damaged their courses.

According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics on 24 May, 49 per cent of those who were studying before the Covid-19 outbreak believe their academic performance at university has been significantly affected.

The statistics also show that 56 per cent of that same sample reported that the lack of face-to-face learning had “a major or moderate impact” on the quality of their course.

Tim Gibbs, head of the Student Covid-19 Insights Study at the ONS, said that although universities had “undoubtedly tried to accommodate students in the face of restrictions”, nearly half of students felt their performance had suffered.

“It is important we continue to monitor the feelings and behaviours of students as restrictions are eased and the university experience returns to some normality,” he added.

Elsewhere, the data showed that the number of students who say they are living in university or private halls or residence significantly increased from 16 per cent in March to 20 per cent in May

Some 51 per cent of students reported a worsening of their mental health or wellbeing since the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, a significant decrease from 68 per cent in January this year.