While findings from a new set of Ofsted reports looking into the pandemic’s continued impact on education providers suggest strong signs of recovery, there continue to be challenges that present long-term consequences.
The new reports draw on evidence from some 280 inspections and multiple focus groups that looked into how education providers at various levels were responding to Covid-related issues as they attempt to address problems created by the pandemic.
Understandably issues with children’s communication and language remain as inspectors report these continuing to impact upon personal, social and emotional development, with many displaying a lack of confidence in group activities as a result of reduced contact.
The report also notes that there are still particular gaps in pupils’ knowledge in mathematics, phonics and writing stamina, but that the deployment of effective strategies is beginning to have some impact in addressing the issue.
These include new methods to check what pupils have learned and subsequently adapting the curriculum to help fill the gaps in knowledge and skills.
Here, the use of regular assessments is helping to identify what pupils have remembered, while others report providing time to revisit concepts that had not been learned well remotely.
In addition, increasing levels of anxiety as a result of lockdowns mean that mental health continues to be a concern, with school leaders reporting lower confidence and resilience concerns among pupils.
However, Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector, Ofsted believes that effective catch-up strategies targeting knowledge and skills gaps are making an impact.
“In many cases, those gaps have closed altogether,” she says. “And we’ve also seen promising improvements in children’s well-being and behaviour.”
Yet, elsewhere, concerns remain and it’s clear that the pandemic has created several lingering challenges.
Speaking to the Guardian, James Bowen, director of policy for school leaders’ union the National Association of Head Teachers, explained that schools were working ‘incredibly hard’ in order to provide pupils with the extra support needed, but ‘cannot do it alone’.
This is where the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) comes in, providing additional support to parents and teachers by providing one-to-one and small group tuition to Primary, Secondary, Special Needs (SEN) and Alternative Provision to those pupils who education has been disadvantaged by the pandemic.
To find out more about the NTP and Tempest’s Approved Partner status, please visit: