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Commenting on Ofsted’s Annual Report, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“As highlighted by Ofsted, teachers and school and college leaders pulled out all the stops during periods where schools and colleges were closed to the majority of pupils to try to maintain education remotely and ensure the wellbeing of their pupils.

“Teachers and leaders have continued to face extraordinary challenges since the reopening of schools and have gone and above and beyond for their students, often at the expense of their own health and wellbeing.

“However, it is undeniable that the pandemic has had a significant impact on pupils’ progress, development and emotional health and that it is the most deprived and vulnerable pupils that have fared worst.

“The Annual Report highlights the scale of the continuing challenge to recover pupils’ education. The NASUWT believes the starting point must be for the Government to take whatever steps are necessary to reduce further disruption to learning while Covid-19 circulates at pandemic levels. This means enhancing safety mitigations in schools through investment in ventilation, mandating greater use of face coverings and reintroducing self-isolation measures. It also means investing in supply teachers to help cover gaps where teachers are absent.

“Additionally, ministers must provide the additional funding that is needed to ensure catch up programmes will genuinely make a difference to the progress, wellbeing and achievement of pupils.

“More broadly, ensuring this generation’s education is not blighted by the pandemic means investing in the teaching workforce and providing pay, working conditions and training which will elevate teaching to its rightful position as a highly skilled and respected profession.

“Ofsted must too consider its own contribution to supporting schools as they seek to recover from during this difficult time. Inspections which only serve to heap pressure and stress on school staff will be counterproductive and distract teachers from focusing on the needs of pupils. As we emerge from the pandemic Ofsted must demonstrate that it understands the unique challenges schools are facing and is capable of offering the genuine support that is needed now and over the coming years.”

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