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Any move back to the resumption of full school inspections must support school staff and pupils to focus on recovering from the impact of the pandemic, the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has heard today.

Providing teachers with the time and space to focus on working with pupils to recover lost learning must be the priority in the coming months, along with supporting the mental recovery of pupils and education staff, representatives at the virtual conference argued.

The return to full school inspections must be carefully timed and support, rather than distract, from schools’ work to deal with the continuing challenges created by Covid, the Conference has heard.

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, and also on teachers and the wider school workforce.

“In moving forward from the events of the last year we need a sustainable programme of education recovery that recognises that teachers and support staff in schools are not an expendable resource, and that their wellbeing lies at the heart of any effective recovery programme for children and young people.

“The inspection system can and should support schools in addressing the impact of the pandemic, through sharing good practice and in examining the ways in which schools can put in place working practices which recognise staff as skilled professionals.

“The rupture created by the pandemic provides an opportunity to examine and address some of the shortcomings of the way in which the accountability system currently operates to ensure we can build a system which genuinely supports schools to improve and flourish.

“The starting point for such a change must be the acceptance by policy makers that quality education can only be achieved and sustained if schools identify and address the pressures on staff, including issues relating to workload and wellbeing.”

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