We know that children and young people are, like all of us, impacted by the pandemic but we do not know for young people who, where, how or by how much or whether any of it matters for now or for the long term. Our national subjective wellbeing statistics for under 18s are high quality measures but not a big enough sample size, or rapid enough, to monitor impact effectively to inform decision making. It is therefore a noisy, evidence free space, with a proliferation of poor studies and guess work going into preventing harm.
It is highly likely that a year to 18 months of interrupted schooling, and transitions to and from home learning, will have an effect on young people but unless we monitor it will be highly likely we may miss, or cause, harm and indeed opportunities where there have been real successes from the changes e.g. inclusivity of access for pupils with long term conditions or the non academic attainment value created by schools. We know from other evidence that lower subjective wellbeing can be a barrier to learning, negatively effect transition from education to employment as well as impacting health, work, parenting, personal and social outcomes that we value as a nation. There is also a long standing debate about the impact of exams on mental health that is evidenced and the pandemic has re-opened the whole debate on the value and process of exams that can not be answered properly without data.