Updated: Mar 13
Details have emerged on how much the lockdown has affected children across the UK, following the Government’s interventions to contain the deadly coronavirus. The Ofsted report to Parliament now cautions that primary school students have been worst hit by the effects of lockdown, with some even forgetting how to use a knife and fork. Some children have lost their urge to read and have regressed in their studies. Ofsted is responsible for inspecting a range of educational institutions, including state schools and some independent schools in the country. The report indicates there is an urgent need to keep schools open so that
children do not completely lose some of the skills they have learned in schools.
The impact assessment on effect of Covid-19 pandemic by Ofsted involved 900 schools across the UK and results indicate a wide range of experiences across groups and the age of children assessed. The Ofsted report identified three main broad groups, which according to Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector, can be used to better describe what has been happening.
‘’The hardest group of young children have suffered from time out of school, going
backward on words and numbers and with "regression back into nappies among potty trained
children" or losing "basic skills" such as using a knife and fork,'' reads the report
in part. The findings reveal the highest number of children in the middle have slipped back
in their learning to varying degrees since schools were closed to most children and their
movement was restricted. However, Ofsted argues that even though it is not in dispute
that learning was lost, it was not very easy to assess how.
Even though the lockdown negatively affected a majority of children, some showed a
positive growth from the restrictions. This is specifically noted in children who have had
supportive families and were spending enough time together with their parents and the
entire family. Factors parents giving time to their children were very crucial.
On the other hand, older children were the most distracted during the lockdown. This Ofsted specifically attributed to a loss of concentration given the fact that learning activities greatly shifted to online. Social media has been fingered as being the biggest distraction to older children and what they do on social media has translated to their class activities. Ofsted warns this will greatly affect the older children since it will take time for them to fully adapt and concentrate in class when things get back to normal.
The loss of physical fitness has also been reported by Ofsted. After schools were closed
and movement restricted, some families had to remain indoors and limit their children's
physical activities. This affected the physical activities of children, something that has grown into a serious health concern. Also, prolonged durations of lockdown have other pupils showing signs of mental distress.