Ofsted Identifies Challenges of Running Early Years Settings post-Lockdown

Ofsted Identifies Challenges of Running Early Years Settings post-Lockdown


Ofsted has published its 2020-21 report. As everyone reading this will be aware, this last year has been the most tumultuous for the country since the second world war. In these conditions, it is natural that Ofsted have taken the opportunity to take stock and reflect on the impact of the pandemic on the childcare sector.

The report highlighted the very different experiences of children during lockdown. Critically the report identified that 44% of providers interviewed found that children’s personal, social, and emotional development had fallen behind. Balancing this however was the fact that some children returned happier – having been able to spend more time with their parents. A similar story was the case with regard to confidence outside, reflecting what children had access to at home. When looking at behaviour, the report found that unsurprisingly the disruption had an impact, but most children adapted quickly once they returned in the autumn last year.

The report also considered the impact on staff. It found that stress levels are higher than before the pandemic, with work feeling more difficult. However, staff also felt more appreciated during the pandemic, as the importance of early years was recognised. Concerningly though, the report also noted that staffing levels suffered in some cases, with meaning children were not always supervised by staff with adequate skills and knowledge.

The report, of course, only runs up until April this year, which at this point feels like decades ago. Although of course with the new Omicron variant, nothing is certain, it is to be hoped that next year’s report will strike a much more positive note.

Ofsted’s annual report is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1038508/Ofsted_Annual_Report_2020_to_2021.pdf