Children’s commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza has issued a plea to teachers not to "panic" children over how far they’ve fallen behind during the Covid pandemic.
Delivering a keynote speech at the Confederation of School Trusts' conference today (see video below), she said teachers could “turn things around” for children and that it was “achievable” for pupils to catch up on lost learning.
But she said: “Let's not panic children about the lessons they've missed or how far they've fallen behind.
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“I know this is something Kevin Collins [the government’s education recovery commissioner] is focused on, and I'm pleased to be working with him.
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"His focus will be as much on helping to boost children's wellbeing and catching up on their social experiences as it will be helping them to catch up with their learning.”
The former headteacher and multi-academy trust chief executive, who moved two schools from "inadequate" to "outstanding", said: “I’ve had to go into schools in the past where there hadn't been a proper maths teacher for years and we still managed to get the children through their GCSEs. We can turn things around for children now, too.”
She added: “All of us know just how much our children have borne the brunt of the pandemic. They have made so many sacrifices – adapting to home learning, missing their friends and relatives, and not been able to do so many things that they used to do.
"In the short term, they should be able to catch up on the essential experiences of childhood. And, of course, that will include learning. And I do think that's achievable.”
Dame Rachel added: “It’s so important children are given opportunities to rediscover play, sport, clubs, activities, and just spending time with their friends will make a huge difference”.