Ofsted: Lockdown leaves pupils behind in the three Rs

First tranche of letters from Ofsted's visits to schools this term reveal widespread concern about pupils forgetting and falling behind in phonics and maths
16th October 2020, 11:54am

Share

Ofsted: Lockdown leaves pupils behind in the three Rs

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/ofsted-lockdown-leaves-pupils-behind-three-rs
Ofsted Has Found That Pupils Are Behind On Maths & Phonics, Its First Wave Of Letters From Its New Visits Have Revealed.

Pupils have fallen behind in phonics and maths after returning to full-time education after the Covid-19 lockdown, Ofsted inspectors have found.

The inspectorate had published its first set of letters today following its new visits to schools to check on how pupils are being supported in the full re-opening of schools.

In ten of the 14 letters published today, Ofsted highlights that schools have noticed pupils are behind or have forgotten phonics knowledge. This includes nine reports about primary schools and one from an all-through school.


Covid-19: Attainment gap will be widest in maths

Exclusive: School in deprived areas hit hardest by lockdown

Analysis: Where will the Covid gaps be in English and maths


The letters highlight how schools are doing catch-up work focused on phonics.

One letter about a primary school in London said: "You have identified some gaps in Year 2 pupils' phonics knowledge.

"You said that it was difficult for pupils to experience the same level of support during lockdown as they would have received in school. Consequently, you are providing phonics catch-up sessions to get these pupils back on track."

Another letter about an Ofsted visit to a primary school in Newcastle, in the North East, said: "Teachers have reported that pupils have not fallen too far behind, although they have identified larger gaps in phonics and early reading skills. 

"To combat this, you are asking teachers to provide some extra phonics sessions and you are arranging one-to-one tuition for pupils who have further to catch up."

Pupils falling behind in maths is also a common theme in the first tranche of letters published today.

In another letter, Ofsted inspectors said: "You also explained that teachers are correcting some calculation methods that pupils have picked up that are not in line with the school's calculation policy."

The letters do not give schools an inspection grade and are a short summary of what Ofsted inspectors found during the one day visit to the school. 

In total Ofsted has published 14 new letters today. Eleven of these are from primary schools, two are for all-through schools and one is for a secondary school.

Yesterday a leading education research body warned that the Covid-19 partial closure of schools would widen the attainment gap most in maths.

Becky Francis, the chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation highlighted this finding at the Schools North East summit this week.

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Register for free to read more

You can read two more articles on Tes for free this month if you register using the button below.

Alternatively, you can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

Already registered? Log in

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Subscribe to read more

You can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters