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Ofsted publishes third set of briefings looking at the continuing impact of the pandemic on education providers

26 Jul 2022|09:40

Ofsted has published the third set of briefings detailing the continuing impact of the pandemic on education providers and students drawing on evidence from more than 100 inspections. The reports, one each for early years, schools and further education & skills providers, have found that most are adapting to the continuing COVID-19 situation and focusing on their recovery strategies. The legacy is that for some children and learners this has had a lasting impact on their education and development. For example, in schools inspectors saw that the pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on those pupils with SEND. This is largely due to the impeding of access to specialist support and services rather than the schools themselves, which had strong systems of support in place.

In early years fewer children were assessed as ready to move to Reception and gross motor skills were especially lacking due to the pandemic closures of playgrounds and soft-play areas. The take up of 2-year old funded places remains lower than pre-pandemic and financial pressures and staffing constraints meant this was not actively being promoted.  Staffing remains an issue in early years.

For Further Education settings they were much more able to move to remote learning, though this has led to a number of learners missing out on ‘socialisation and developing work-ready behaviours and attitudes’. Many supported internships were delayed or cancelled as well as a varied level of disruption for apprenticeships. There has also been a high level of anxiety, especially in those year groups sitting their first external examinations, as well as an increase generally in secondary schools.

Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, said: “It’s clear that education providers are responding to the ongoing challenges of COVID with creativity and resilience. But the pandemic and lockdowns created some distinct problems, which are taking time to shift. Some young children are still behind in their development; older children are experiencing higher levels of exam anxiety than usual, and difficulties recruiting and retaining staff have been exacerbated across all phases of education.”