Ofsted has today published its second report in a series looking at the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic across the sectors it inspects and regulates, from early years and children’s social care, through to post-16 education. The report finds that some children, of all ages and backgrounds, have lost some basic skills and learning as a result of school closures and restrictions on movement.
Ofsted’s research was based on visits to 900 schools and early years providers this autumn – and it found a very divided experience.
Concerns remain about children who were out of sight during school closures, with falling referrals to social care teams raising fears that domestic neglect, exploitation or abuse is going undetected.
Other findings include:
- The pandemic has significantly impacted children’s learning and development. In particular children’s PSED with children are reported as being less confident and more anxious.
- Many children have become less independent – eg regressing in their toilet training or forgetting how to use a knife and fork to eat
- Nurseries are supporting children in their PSED and also offering more physical activities outdoors to improve their overall fitness
- Children need support to make friends and mix with others
- Children with English as an additional language or those with SEND needed particular attention and in many cases external resources were scarce to support them.
58% of providers report financial difficulties
However, the report also noted that children who had continued to attend or were well supported at home had “made good progress in their learning”.
A quarter of providers thought that children’s communication and language had improved in the lockdown. Some providers said that parent who were able to spend more time talking to and reading with their children had had a positive impact.
Most providers also said that some of the changes they had made during the pandemic had been positive such as the staggered starts to the day and leaving parents at the gate. The reduced number of resources also meant that children are “less likely to be overwhelmed”.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, commented: “At a time when there is so much focus on access to ‘childcare’ element of early years provision, this report is a timely reminder of the vital early education that nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are delivering every day, and the tangible impact that losing access to this education can have on young children. “
To read the full report please see the Website Link.