Girl on black background

Shut in not shut out

When the poorest children were shut inside. We fought to make sure they weren’t shut out too.

During the pandemic, the poorest children were being shut out of future opportunities

Picture this - you’ve had six months away from the office. You tried to get your work done at home but you had no laptop, no internet access and no quiet space. You get back to the office and realise your teammates had what they needed to stay on track. They’re ready. You’re not.

That’s the reality that millions of poorer young people faced after a year in and out of the classroom. Back in school, they found themselves alongside classmates who had what they needed to keep learning in lockdown.

Before COVID-19 you only had half the chance of getting good grades at school if you are growing up in a poor community. During the pandemic, the odds got much tougher.

Our Shut In Not Shut Out campaign mobilised businesses and influenced government during the pandemic. As a result, many more children in disadvantaged areas received the vital support they need.

Our campaign wins

Over the course of our campaign, we were thrilled to see business and government stepping up in a number of ways: 

  • ​​​An additional £1.8bn from the government for the education recovery package  in September 2021. 
  • Education recovery funding doubled for secondary schools in May 2022. 
  • Nearly 2 million laptops donated to schools through government support. 
  • Teach First supporters provided an additional £1m worth of computer equipment. 


boy in class at school

10 years of progress

needed to close the attainment gap lost due to school closures. (source)

34% of learning lost

for poorer secondary school pupils due to COVID-19. (source)

Problems like this won’t go away once we’re out of lockdown. The school system will need support for at least seven more years. So whilst the world will go back to normality on the surface there will be much to be done for those who are disadvantaged.
Jason Ashley,
Headteacher at Redbridge Community School Southampton

Our campaign partners 

Our thanks to IG for their unique £2m donation which kick-started our Shut In Not Shut Out campaign.  

Thanks also to the following partners to provided generous donations to make sure no child is shut out of the education they deserve: 

  • Amazon 
  • BNP Paribas  
  • Capita 
  • Deloitte 
  • DHL UK Foundation 
  • Drax 
  • Rolls-Royce 
  • Vodafone 
IG logo

And thank you to the following partners who provided time, volunteering, and innovative resources for our teaching community: 

  • Amazon 
  • Barclays 
  • Bloomsbury Publishing 
  • Penguin Books 
  • PwC 
  • Rolls-Royce 
  • Shell UK 
  • Siemens 
  • Swarovski Foundation 
Student writing in book in class near classmate

What’s next? 

We know the fight isn’t over to make our education system work for every child. We’re campaigning on a wide range of topics and raising the voice of our community. Find out about our latest campaigns.  

Want to know more about what Teach First is all about? Discover who we are and what we stand for. 

Find out how one school is rebuilding after school closures. This is the Class of 2020.

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