Commenting on the Chief Inspector’s annual report
, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“The Chief Inspector’s bleak report provides yet more evidence of the huge impact of the pandemic on the education and wellbeing of children and young people. She finds that the challenges of the pandemic were so great that nearly all children fell behind in their education despite the best efforts of teachers, parents, carers and social workers. The loss of education and activities led to some children developing physical and mental health problems, and created additional barriers for children with special educational needs.
“Unfortunately, the government’s response to this crisis has been wholly inadequate. Its recovery plan for education is not sufficiently resourced and is predicated largely on a series of routes for delivering one-to-one and small group tuition which are overly complicated and bureaucratic. It would be far simpler and more effective to provide the funding directly to schools and colleges to deliver support as needed. It is not too late to do this and we call upon ministers once again to provide a recovery plan of the scale and ambition required.
“We would also emphasise that disruption caused by the pandemic is far from being over, and that the first step to recovery must be to establish continuity of learning. The government must provide more public health support to schools and colleges in terms of testing and improved ventilation, and Ofsted itself must do more to recognise that inspections at this time are extremely problematic. We have asked the inspectorate to allow inspections to be deferred upon request to a later date, and while it has slightly softened its criteria for deferrals, it has not gone far enough in this respect.”