Ofsted boss says children face a ‘great deal’ of catch-up to keep their lives ‘on track’

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Sophia Sleigh
·2 min read
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<p>Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman </p> (PA)

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman

(PA)

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector today said the children affected by covid face a “great deal” of catch up work to keep their lives “on track”.

Ahead of the return to school next week, Amanda Spielman said many families had been stretched “almost to breaking point” by remote education.

She also said there was a “hole” in the preparation for many young people’s next stage in life whether that be sixth form or university.

Ms Spielman told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There’s a great deal more that many children will need to learn over the next couple to years to keep their lives fully on track.

“There are other ways in which many children have suffered. Most of all a large proportion of children are just bored, lonely, miserable.

“Remote education has been a sticking plaster that we have had to apply, but it just doesn’t replicate what you get when you have good teachers in good schools and the social benefits of being in school alongside your peers.”

As part of the schoools’ return, secondary pupils will be asked to take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week to help identify anyone who might be infectious.

Pupils are required to be given three initial tests at school or college before moving to home testing. There is no testing planned for primary school pupils.

Secondary pupils will also be asked to wear masks in classes, as well as in corridors and communal spaces.

Asked if school days should be made longer or holidays shorter, Ms Spielman said it was “important” children get the “full amount of schooling that we know that they can cope with and benefit from”.

She also warned about gaps in learning for older children, adding: “Those young people have got a real hole – or very often have a real hole – in their preparation for the next stage in their education whether that’s A-Levels or Btecs next year in sixth form or college or a degree at university.

“What’s important is to make sure that we’ve really planned for what those young people haven’t had to make sure they do as well as they can in future.”

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