Havering Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee: 20th January 2022

Item 6: Adaptations due to Covid and Covid Recovery1

This item is extremely important and revealed more than could reasonably have been expected. Through the intervention of the chair, Judith Holt, the focus of the discussion extended beyond SEND children2 to the impact of school closures on the on the more able.

Havering’s education department can be congratulated for their response to a two-year crisis. Staff training, sensitive use of Teacher Assistants, and true engagement with parents was on display. Respite care, for example, has grown in importance3. Nonetheless there’s been regression amongst some pupils, which was anticipated. Vulnerable children taken out of a structured learning environment are unlikely to maintain momentum.

The detailed report on SEND children was superior to comments on the more able. Responses here were anecdotal. They were hampered by disagreement as to what ‘more able’ meant. One anecdote was startling. This was that more able boys ‘thrived’ outside the school environment. Both the chair and Gillian Ford discussed this revelation without drawing a conclusion. There’s a possibility that school behaviour codes are alienating and negatively impact on achievement. More research needs to be done on this important point.

The chair called for this additional meeting and was richly rewarded.

Notes

1 (Public Pack)Agenda Document for Children & Learning Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee, 20/01/2022 19:00 (havering.gov.uk)

2 Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

3 £300 grants were given to certain parents who were struggling with the burden of educational provision at home. Educational equipment was also loaned out where required.  It isn’t known whether Academy schools with SEND children were equally proactive.

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