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Kids struggle with writing and speech, says UK study


Ofsted in the United Kingdom found basic skills, such as speech and writing, are still being challenged by children following the Covid-19 outbreak.

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In the wake of Covid-19, children still struggle to master basic communication skills. This is according to a recent study done by the U.K government’s education agency.

They were some of the findings of a series of reportsOfsted released the following Monday’s findings. They were based upon evidence from more than 280 inspections at educational institutions of different age groups and also focus groups with inspectors from government departments.  

Ofsted discovered that early years educators had noticed delays in children’s speech and language development. Some educators also noted that infants struggled with basic facial expressions. This could have been due to reduced social interaction in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns.

Some education professionals also pointed out that children lack confidence in participating in group activities while pre-schoolers and toddlers need help learning how to take turns and share.

The pandemic also had a negative impact on young children’s development. For example, it delayed babies’ ability to walk and crawl. Some providers reported children’s independence and self-care abilities had declined. This led them to invest more time with their kids in physical activities to develop their gross motor skills.

While school-aged kids were still struggling with math and phonics, teachers said they were seeing a decrease in the gaps. However, their knowledge was improving.

Like in other countries, Covid-19 forced U.K. schools closing to the majority of students. Many were educated at home while the lockdowns took place.

Education professionals continue to be concerned about the mental well-being of children in school. They noticed decreased resilience, confidence and anxiety among students.

Actually, the section of the report that focuses on this age group stated that schools have noticed that the outbreak had had an effect on subjects students chose to study before they take high school exams and pre-college exams. This is known as GSCEs or A Levels.

For example, a few schools noticed that fewer students were choosing to study all of the main sciences — biology, chemistry and physics. One educator suggested that students are less likely to choose another language after lockdowns because of lower self-confidence.

Teachers also noted how technology had been affected by the pandemic. The report stated that one school noticed that students were uncomfortable using touch screens and decided to focus on desktop computers.

Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector of Ofsted, stated that although there had been progress in helping children catch up on their missed work, “clearly the pandemic created some lingering problems.”

She said, “I am particularly concerned about the development of younger children, which, left unaddressed could potentially cause problems later on for primary schools.”

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