The Ofsted Annual Report 2022, published on Tuesday, has highlighted the extent to which education and children’s social care have recovered since the pandemic.
The report starts from September 2021 and ends at August 2022.
When it began, education and social care providers were still dealing with the pandemic’s very recent aftermath.
As it closed, the energy crisis and cost of living pressures increased, making it harder for the education and social care sectors.
The report highlights a number of issues in education and care that are either created or exacerbated by workforce and resourcing challenges, and which are compounding problems left over from the pandemic.
Children are bearing the brunt of these issues, as staff shortages create problems that can affect their quality of education and care.
Read the report here.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We know the pandemic has impacted children’s learning and social care, and we are incredibly grateful for the resilience and hard work of teachers, head teachers, social workers and other staff.
“We have put in place a wide range of support, including investing £5 billion in education recovery, with over two million tutoring courses now started, and are boosting school budgets to their highest ever level in real terms by 24/25.
“To help ease the pressure on children’s services, we have trained thousands of new social workers, and are providing councils with £4.8 billion in new grant funding over the spending review period to 2025, to help maintain vital frontline services, including children’s social care and children’s homes.”
Responding to the report, The Children’s Society’s head of policy and research, Sarah Wayman, said: “Children and young people are paying the price for the Government’s failure to invest in vital services and the workforce they rely on, and to plan for the long-term.
“While the pandemic, and now soaring inflation have been enormous new challenges, cuts to government funding for councils, a shortage of care placements and over-stretched mental health services are long-standing issues.
“Years of cuts to early support services for children of all ages and their families mean problems are escalating to crisis point, jeopardising the safety, wellbeing and education of young people and making it more likely social care will need to intervene.
“Urgent investment is needed in these services and we need to see better coordination between our education, social care and mental health systems so children receive consistent support.
“We want easy-access hubs in every community where young people can get help with their wellbeing and the Government needs to speed up its roll-out of mental health support teams to all schools.
“The children’s social care review offers an important blueprint for reform, but political will and funding is now needed from the Government to ensure all children and families get the support they deserve.”