Covid: Vulnerable suffered out of sight of teachers

School closures during first lockdown had 'dramatic impact' on number of child protection referrals, Ofsted boss will say today
1st December 2020, 10:17am
Tes Reporter

Share

Covid: Vulnerable suffered out of sight of teachers

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/covid-vulnerable-suffered-out-sight-teachers
Ofsted Identifies Risk To Children During Pandemic

Vulnerable children have suffered while out of teachers' sight during the Covid-19 crisis, Ofsted has found.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman is expected to say today that school closures during the first national lockdown had a "dramatic impact" on the number of child protection referrals made to local authorities.

Councils are now more likely to be responding to a legacy of abuse and neglect after local safeguarding partners struggled to identify children and families in need of early support and protection, according to the watchdog.


Coronavirus: Warning over 1 in 4 special school pupils 'sat at home'

Attendance: 876,000 pupils off for Covid-related reasons

NEU: Desperate schools clinging on as virus 'runs riot'


The inspectorate's annual report highlights that, in normal times, around 20 per cent of referrals to local authorities come from schools and early years settings as staff spot signs of abuse or neglect.

The report says: "A big concern for us during the period when schools were closed to most children was the lack of visibility of vulnerable children.

"Schools are crucial to children's safety and welfare, and not just while they are on school premises. In normal times, around 20 per cent of notifications to local authorities about children come from schools and early years settings. Teachers know their children and often recognise when something is not right.

"The low numbers of children in school during the first national lockdown therefore directly affected the ability of local safeguarding partners to identify neglect and harm.

"Combined with disruption to community health services, which are the universal service for very small children, it became more difficult to identify children's and families' need for early help and protection. Instead, local authorities are more likely now to be responding to a legacy of abuse and neglect."

Ms Spielman will say today that it is imperative that all agencies work together to prioritise the most urgent cases.

The report also raises concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on children's educational outcomes, as well as their mental and physical health.

Recent reports from the watchdog suggest that the children hardest hit by nursery and school closures have regressed in basic skills and learning.

Some have lapsed back into nappies and forgotten how to eat with a knife and fork, while older children now lack "stamina" in reading and writing because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ofsted found.

The inspectorate highlighted that many children did not do their school work or did very little during closures because they did not have the technology or space to work remotely.

It is likely that learning losses have been significant and will be reflected in widening attainment gaps, the annual report suggests.

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