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Calling all teachers. Can you help with some info about the post covid landscape?
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EdPsychonaQuest · 20/07/2022 18:20

Hi there. As per my username I am an Ed psych in a large city.

We have noticed post covid - even though schools have been back a full academic year - that many children and teens have been really significantly psychologically impacted by the covid era. This isn't a formal bit of research, I am not a journalist, but I do want to write training that is relevant to schools and settings in terms of supporting you guys with how things are in education post covid.

My initial scoping and liaison with a few key staff suggests:

-exacerbation of existing vulnerability in lots of directions. Those in poverty, with learning needs, anxiety etc all struggling comparatively more

  • Sleep patterns still a big issue esp as secondary age
  • Big increase in "risk averseness" in many kids; they seem more fearful, less resilient, more anxious, fewer coping skills
  • Increase in emotionally based school avoidance ("refusal")
  • Increase esp at primary age of kids finding it really hard to pay attention for extended periods and self regulate
  • Obvious impact in Early Years on social and interactive skills, language development, ability to self regulate - really strong impact in only or eldest children

    I know camhs and neurodevelopmental services are struggling with a huge increase in referrals as well. Offering schools support with those pupils now stuck on waiting lists is part of the remit here.

    If anyone can let me know if this mirrors what they see in their setting - and what type of setting, eg primary, independent school, nursery etc - it will really help me ensure we are able to offer the kind of support that school staff actually need and would find helpful.

    Thanks so much!
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EdPsychonaQuest · 20/07/2022 18:40

Should add - been a loyal mumsnetter for many years. Don't make a habit of asking for this kind of info from teachers but for this particular piece of work it would be so incredibly helpful to see if this is a national or just a local issue. There isn't much research yet about POST covid schools or children (lots on lockdowns themselves).

I note wryly that government priority is on academic catch-up when it seems to me that psychological catch up is a greater priority (but I suppose I would say that...?)

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EdPsychonaQuest · 20/07/2022 19:02

@noblegiraffe - any insights?

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EdPsychonaQuest · 20/07/2022 19:27

@Rayn22
?

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Wavingnotdrown1ng · 20/07/2022 20:29

Large, maintained comp.
Behaviour from younger students that is like much younger children - shouting out, not turn-taking, inability to regulate emotions, tantrums, crying at the drop of a hat about small issues.

Older students, particularly A Level ones who didn’t sit GCSE exams due to Covid and may have had ‘optimistic’ TAGs etc or not covered large chunks of the curriculum - not being able to cope with ‘exam nerves’ and a normal level of anxiety / pressure. Walking out / not turning up for mock exams and expecting a lot of concessions ( e.g splitting the exam over two days etc) when they are not diagnosed with a condition or have SEND. Some have a real lack of awareness that they can’t do this in the final exams and that exam regs aren’t negotiable. I also think that quite a lot of children found it difficult to cope with wearing a uniform again and not leggings/joggers, sitting on a chair, sitting still, not interrupting etc after the lockdowns and definitely the confidence to have a go and realise that making mistakes / getting it wrong are part of the learning process.

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Newrumpus · 20/07/2022 21:04

All of the above is true and was the predicted and obvious result of extended closures. I would add, although this isn’t your direct concern, that now the financial effects of closing much of the economy for extended periods is now also being felt, funding is being cut left, right and centre. This causes additional stresses in all aspects of school life and detrimentally affects the most vulnerable particularly badly.

Additionally, medical provision, social care and other agencies are feeling the pinch and consequently off-loading their responsibilities onto schools.

I’m not sure I agree with your asserted division of academic and psychological recovery. In school, they are intertwined. If schools were allowed to focus on teaching and supported by their external partners to do so, this would aid recovery of the whole child.

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EdPsychonaQuest · 20/07/2022 22:25

Thanks v much you two for responding.
It's really appreciated

I get that academic catch up goes with psychological in that obv if you have missed chunks of curriculum that will increase anxiety around exams etc ....I guess my hope would have been to adjust the curriculum expectations more (I know exam specs were adjusted slightly rather late in the day!). It does all interact but esp when talking about primary, if kids don't have those core root skills of school readiness that enable learning to take place, then that has to be the first priority before dashing ahead trying to catch up on a curriculum...

WRT feeling the pinch in social and health services and offloading responsibility on to schools - I can't speak for social care but can assert it's a bit more than a pinch - referrals to local autism diagnostic service has quadrupled post pandemic with no more staff etc. They are just as worried and unhappy about not being able to respond in a timely fashion which is partly why they want us to try to offer more specific help for this issue alongside our core offer.

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BadlydoneHelen · 20/07/2022 23:14

Primary experiences: children generally a lot more needy. Eg Demanding immediate attention rather than waiting for class instructions, wanting adult input before starting work, wanting adult intervention in minor disputes, unable to just rub along with each other without adults policing them. Difficulties with maintaining concentration for extended periods, lack of resilience when things go wrong. Very many of them expect an adult to swoop in and solve every minor difficulty they have. It seems as though far more children than usual( ie pre COVID) are undergoing investigation for SEN whether that be ASD/ADHD/processing difficulties etc
I'm aware that makes our pupils sound awful- they're really not, they are still just as funny and lovely in the main but they are much harder work than I remember from a few years ago.

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Newrumpus · 20/07/2022 23:53

EdPsychonaQuest · 20/07/2022 22:25

Thanks v much you two for responding.
It's really appreciated

I get that academic catch up goes with psychological in that obv if you have missed chunks of curriculum that will increase anxiety around exams etc ....I guess my hope would have been to adjust the curriculum expectations more (I know exam specs were adjusted slightly rather late in the day!). It does all interact but esp when talking about primary, if kids don't have those core root skills of school readiness that enable learning to take place, then that has to be the first priority before dashing ahead trying to catch up on a curriculum...

WRT feeling the pinch in social and health services and offloading responsibility on to schools - I can't speak for social care but can assert it's a bit more than a pinch - referrals to local autism diagnostic service has quadrupled post pandemic with no more staff etc. They are just as worried and unhappy about not being able to respond in a timely fashion which is partly why they want us to try to offer more specific help for this issue alongside our core offer.

I think you are underestimating the value of learning. Education is not just about examination success. Learning has therapeutic benefits. Youngsters have an innate desire to learn and meeting that desire generates emotional well-being. It is when that desire is not met, for whatever reason, that anxiety in education occurs.

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EdPsychonaQuest · 21/07/2022 06:50

I don't think we disagree, Newrumpus.

I agree that children are 'wired' for learning in the widest possible sense of the word.

I agree that a child who is failing to meet the expectations placed upon them, either by themself or by someone else, is a recipe for anxiety.

That's why I think that because many children, (but most disproportionately the children of the working poor or those where parents don't have fluent English) have not made the usual progress in lockdown that to make up for that, the curriculum should be changed down a bit for the next few years and reviewed, rather than remaining arbitrarily high in a way that really only came in with Gove reforms a few years ago - and with teachers under huge pressure to try to meet artificially high learning objectives with cohorts who are qualitatively more needy than they were.

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RuleWithAWoodenFoot · 21/07/2022 10:49

Primary year 3 - I agree with a lot of the above.

  1. still expecting an immediate response, so a lot of shouting out going on, interrupting and so on. They've been in full time school for a year again now, I don't understand why this is still an issue.
  2. social skills are shocking - missed a chunk of KS1 when they would have been playing and falling out with support to negotiate making up again. Huge impact on friendships and on learning.
  3. I see lots of intentionally picky/irritating behaviour - not sure if it's just my class this year - poking, blocking, taking a long time to do something to hold others up etc

    teachers under huge pressure to try to meet artificially high learning objectives with cohorts who are qualitatively more needy than they were

    Yes, that. 2022/2023 is my last year of teaching. I don't think it's working.
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