Ofsted: Children hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic are regressing in basic skills and learning

A report by Ofsted into the impact of the pandemic finds that children who were hardest hit by nursery closures and restrictions have regressed in some basic skills and learning. For example, the report find that some young children, who were previously potty-trained, have lapsed back into nappies, particularly those whose parents were working from home and/or those unable to work flexibly. Children have also lost stamina in their reading and writing, some have lost physical fitness, others show signs of mental distress, including an increase in eating disorders and self-harm


Ofsted Inspectors “discovered some children had become ‘less independent’, ‘less confident and more anxious’ since the first national lockdown.” If they had returned to their setting, many were back to using dummies and comforters. They were also back in nappies despite previously being toilet trained while others had forgotten ‘how to play’ as they did not have access to the same quality of toys at home.


Commenting on the report, Alliance chief executive Neil Leitch said:
“At a time when there is so much focus on access to ‘childcare’ element of early years provision, this report is a timely reminder of the vital early education that nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are delivering every day, and the tangible impact that losing access to this education can have on young children.
“Providers have done an incredible job of supporting children in their care throughout this pandemic, but they should not be left to tackle this challenge alone. It’s time the Government remembered that early years provision is not just about getting parents back to work – it’s about delivering high-quality learning and development opportunities at the most critical time of a child’s life – and started providing the support that the sector needs to continue doing just that.”



“We have now entered a second national lockdown. This time, at least, schools, colleges and nurseries are to remain open. That is very good news indeed,” said Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman.

At St. George’s Nursery, one of our current focus areas is to help children develop or even re-develop some of these independent skills, such as toilet training, using a knife and fork at meal times, dressing and other skills that may have suffered over the first lockdown. We are working together with parents & carers to ensure that all children that missed out at nursery on learning, discovering, making friends and playing are fully up to speed, and happy, safe & learning!


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