Letter from Professor Sir Ian Diamond to Robert Halfon MP

Dear Mr Halfon,

Thank you for your letter of 16 June regarding statistical analysis looking at the impact of COVID-19 and school closures on children and young people and bringing to my attention the report produced by Statistics Norway: ‘Cost of school closures in the face of COVID-19.’

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) consulted on the development of a Human Capital framework at the end of 2019, the results of which prompted us to develop a workplan detailing our ambition to develop a comprehensive set of Human Capital indicators. One of the key aspects of this workplan is to develop a flexible approach that will enable us to focus on the priorities of the day.

We are already working closely with colleagues in the Department for Education to more fully understand the impacts of COVID-19 on education and educational outcomes, including lifetime earnings. As part of this, we are in the process of setting up a regular Human Capital steering group, with leading academics and analysts from across Government to ensure our methods are robust and meet user needs.

Our current plans would mean that we are looking to provide our first indicative results on the impact of COVID-19 on Human Capital, which will include the effect of interrupted education, by the end of the current year. I will of course share this with the Committee once published.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond