Ofsted has written a series of reports looking at education recovery in schools for Autumn 2021. The reports reflect the findings of the 214 routine inspections carried out in mainstream settings from Early Years to Post-16.
Despite the disruption that the pandemic has created, inspectors found that many settings are effectively helping children address missed learning. The reports are targeted at different phases of education with one for schools, one for Early Years and one for further education and skills providers.
However, despite positive progress, it is clear from Ofsted’s inspections that low attendance remains a concern. Schools report that much of the absence is for reasons related to COVID-19, including:
- pupils testing positive for COVID-19
- COVID-19-related anxiety among both parents and pupils
- poorer mental health among pupils because of the pandemic
- parents rescheduling or rearranging term-time holidays
- children having lower resilience due to setbacks or illness
Some schools also reported they had more COVID-19 related absences among disadvantaged pupils, those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), and specific year groups, notably Year 8, Year 11 and Sixth Form.
Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman said:
“The pandemic is still with us, and children’s education is still being disrupted. But it’s clear that many school leaders and staff have responded to these challenges with tenacity and demonstrated creativity in how they have supported children and learners’ education and personal development. Children have missed out so much already. And some pupils remain persistently absent from school for a variety of reasons. So, as we face further turbulence, we must do all we can to make sure children are able to continue learning in their classrooms.”
Data from specialist settings and alternative provisions was not included in the reports though it was stated that this will be included at a later date.