Good, well-structured, face-to-face education and the return of sport and extra-curricular activities will help most children catch up with lost learning and improve mental and physical health, Ofsted’s annual report finds.
While the long-term impact of pandemic-related school closures is still unknown, the report says almost every child in England has suffered as a result of restrictions.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said that, while additional government funding to support education recovery is positive, ministers “must go further, and commit to funding a programme that goes beyond academic achievement, to include measures to support children and young people’s socialisation, communication and mental health and wellbeing”.
Ofsted’s report also raised concerns about an increase in the number of children being withdrawn from school to be home educated.
Cllr Bramble reiterated the LGA’s long-standing call for a duty on parents to register home-schooled children, to “help councils monitor how children are being educated, and prevent children from disappearing from the oversight of services designed to keep them safe”.
She added: “We also know that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and while additional funding to support them will help, it is clear that the system is in need of significant reform.
“We want to work with the Government on a cross-Whitehall strategy that puts children and young people at the heart of our long-term recovery from the pandemic, ensuring all children have the support they need to thrive.”