Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “School leaders have been very worried this year about the impact of lockdown on vulnerable children. Schools have done their best to support vulnerable children by ensuring free school meals continued during lockdown and the holidays and by referring children to the services that can help.
“Sadly the last decade has seen the budgets of child support services slashed alongside those of schools, so there is less capacity than need. Ten years of government neglect has left vulnerable children and families on the edge – Covid has nudged many of them over.
“Suspending routine inspections this year was the right thing to do. The best thing Ofsted can now do for schools is to allow them to focus on the job at hand. Leaders and teachers are under huge pressure as they cope with rising infection rates within schools, and have an enormous job ahead helping children to recover from the impact of the pandemic, both academically and in terms of wellbeing. A return to inspections in January would be an unhelpful distraction and only get in the way of this effort. We’d urge them to take January inspections off the table entirely."
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