A recording of the live panel discussion that took place at Ofsted's Annual Report launch on Tuesday 7 December 2021. The panel discussion the issues facing education, children's services and skill over the last year, and look forward to the future. 

Transcript

AT – Anna Trethewey

CJ- Chris Jones

AS – Amanda Spielman

JC – Jenny Coles

HB – Hardip Begol

YS – Yvette Stanley

CR – Chris Russell

AT- Hello and welcome to Ofsted Talks. On Tuesday, the seventh of December, we launched our Annual Report on Education, Children's Services and Skills. Following the publication of the report, we had a panel discussion in front of a live audience to discuss some of the issues over the last year. Obviously, as this was recorded at the beginning of December, the discussion reflects COVID as it was then we've moved on quite a bit since before Christmas, but I hope you enjoyed the discussion or the same. So listen away.

CJ - Good afternoon, everyone. And welcome to the launch of this year's Ofsted Annual Report. My name is Chris Jones. I'm Ofsted’s Director of Strategy. We've assembled this distinguished panel of guests that you can see at the front and I've just introduce them before we hear from them. Firstly, Jenny Coles, who was until recently was the Director of Children's and Services in Hertfordshire, is a former president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services and is currently Chair of the What Works Centre for Social Care. Thank you for being with us, Jenny. Next to her is Hardip Begol, who is the Chief Executive of Woodard Academies Trust is also a non-Executive Director at the Centre for Education and Youth and a former senior civil servant in the Department of Education. Welcome Hardip. And from Ofsted, we have Yvette Stanley who is our National Director for Social Care and Early Years Regulation. And Chris Russell, who is our National Director for
Education. Before I asked them for their reflections on the past year, I'm going to ask Her Majesty's Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, just to give us some opening remarks. So over to you, Amanda.

AS - Thank you very much, Chris, and welcome, everybody. As Chris said, I'm not going to do a full on speech, you've had a chance to look at the report and read the commentary. We wanted to bring together this group of interested and interesting people, including all of you to talk about the report and the issues it raises. So just to be very brief to begin with, it has been an extraordinarily difficult year, in many ways, and for many different groups of people. But I do think that we've asked an extraordinary amount from the youngest people in our society. For much of last year, they had usually experiences of childhood put on hold in order to protect in the main, the older members of society. That most obviously affected their education, but also their care, their social experiences, and the development and growth that we often take for granted as part of growing up. And here I know that everybody will have read, thought been, talking over the week over the weekend and this week about the very unfortunate young boy in Solihull who won't be growing up. It's a tragic reminder of how difficult the job of child protection is. We're now all trying to make sense of the impact of COVID. At a time when that impact is still very much being felt this tremendous work being done across education and social care, as there has been throughout the pandemic. So we do all owe a debt of gratitude to the teachers the social workers, the childcare workers, the lecturers, everybody else in education and care who really have put in the hard yards over the last 18 months. As this report does make clear, we do owe this cohort of children and learners something else. We do owe them the best possible chance to fulfil that potential. And to do that, we really do need to understand the year that's gone and work out what needs to be done to make up for lost time. And I think that's all I'm going to say by way of introduction. I'm going to hand back to Chris.

CJ – Thanks very much Amanda. So I'm going to ask the panel just for a few opening remarks of their own reflections on the past year and I'm going to start with our guests near me. And so, Jenny, what's the last year been like for you?

JC - Well, I think like for all of us, it's been a year of changes really and massive challenges. But also seeing a great amount of resilience. And I suppose when you asked me that question, Chris mentioned it yesterday. A few things came to mind. First thing was the intense partnership working that happened over the last year and almost straightaway actually and I know in so many places as in Hartfordshire. managers and workers came together from across the other partnership of police, health, voluntary sector, and education settings to think about, particularly the most vulnerable children and included in that those who have special educational needs and disability were a real real concern. And within that, the importance really came to light of public health. And there was an awful lot of talk about adults quite rightly so but the role of public health in supporting us all for children, not least helping us translate the numerous guidance that came out from the DfE on almost daily basis throughout certainly most of the year and I know that still needing to continue. But also the ingenuity of frontline workers from everybody from early years and children's centres, from teachers and in education settings, social workers, family support workers, foster carers who use their whole family to support if they if they contracted COVID and residential workers who lived for two or three weeks at a time in children's homes so children can be cared for. The IT rollout was amazing. I have to say that probably would have taken local authorities to implement taking at least a year we got in a week and that has continued to continue to develop over the year. And I know today and that's been mentioned in the report there's been really good progress in the use of technology but that also brings its challenges. And as a recent report by the What Works Centre look at the impact of the pandemic on the work of social workers. It very clearly states we need more evidence about the use of technology and where it can add value and where it doesn't add value. And finally, two more things, the basic needs of families the amount of food that was delivered throughout the pandemic, particularly up until Christmas last year, schools going out and doing visits carrying food and food vouchers gave us a very timely reminder about family poverty and the challenges that were there before the pandemic and certainly still are with us. And second thing I want to end with is what young people said and so many local areas, did surveys and talk to young people. And for them the impact of the pandemic we must as the report says really show their voice because for them, they miss their friends. They miss socialising, they miss seeing their family, they particularly miss going to school. And that was the whole thing about schools and education settings. Being the hub of the community was really strong through the pandemic and needs to be really strong as we come out of it. And they were also particularly worried about their emotional health and their mental health. So ending on the voice of the child. Thanks, Chris.

CJ - I will no doubt pick up quite a few of those themes as we as we talk about further harder. Hardip You've been running your school trust for the for the past year or more. What's been at the forefront of your mind.

HB - Well, Chris, I joined without academies trust as a CEO in April 2020. After over 20 years in the civil service I chose that time to join the Multi-Academy Trust sector where geographically dispersed trust oh six, all through secondary schools across the country, four out of six which were requires improvement, but I just want to echo Jenny's tribute to school leaders and staff in terms of all their efforts to serve the needs of young people, in particular, lots of non-teaching staff in our schools, who played a tremendous role in making sure that when our schools were open and remember, they were open all through the pandemic, even though there's talk of national lockdowns, our school stayed open. If anything, they stayed open longer because we put on Easter provision and summer provision and that's no and most of that is due to the work of our technical staff, our catering staff, our premises staff are the unsung heroes of the school sector. But I want to be optimistic about what happened over that period of time. The research shows that there is some learning loss but for disadvantaged young people, we've had decades of knowing that they're way behind in terms of their progress. So let's not say that the pandemic suddenly has revealed that disadvantage young people don't do don't do well. So I want to pay tribute to those young people and their resilience. Parents fed back to us that they really welcome the support from schools and on the whole, the remote learning offer that was provided by our schools. And interestingly in our Trust, we found that by summer 2021 says summer, just gone. Staff engagement levels were higher in our schools than they've ever been in the past, again, tribute to our teachers and what really motivates them in terms of meeting the needs of our pupils. I think one of the biggest challenges remaining in addition to attainment is attendance in our schools. And in common with most schools across the country, we are now seeing a group of young people whose attendance is much lower than it should be. And that's in addition to young people who have withdrawn from mainstream education. So that's something hopefully we can pick up as we move forward. But I think there's many reasons to be optimistic. Two of our schools have had inspections this term and both of them became good during those inspections because they invested the time and effort into making sure they carried on meeting the needs of young people and improving the quality of education.

CJ - Thank you harder and I promise we didn't know that when we invited. We invited harder to be on this panel. Yvette, I'll come to you next for your reflections.

YS - Thank you, Chris. I just really echoing what Jenny and Hardip said, as you know from our report, we continued with our regulatory work in early years and social care registering provision and across all remits visited provision when they were safeguarding concerns and we also had a great number of our staff out there working in the frontline. It made us very humble. And both of those pieces of work meant that we heard what was going on on the ground. And I think that vigilance across education and care, doing their best for vulnerable children. That's always dynamic, isn't it risk changes for children. And they responded well, to those children where we already knew there was a risk. The challenge, I think, and it comes out clearly in our report and a number of comments the HMC I said over the last years is that for good reason retreat from the health service from universal children's services to support the COVID response meant the children with SEND children with pre-existing mental health conditions, and families lost valuable therapists and respite services. Some looked after children did exceptionally well Jenny mentioned foster carers and care workers wrapping services around children making sure that they will continue with their education supporting them in in managing the frustration of lockdown rules. We saw all of that, but some children lost, lost valuable contact with say their siblings they really felt really challenged. In in very difficult time. So a lot of our report will talk about the vulnerable children because our eyes were very much on them and they are going forward particularly in the context that we're all working for today. I think the other thing I would like to say is that the situation was never stable. Was it, it was hugely dynamic. And depending on when we were visiting, we saw people at very different ages and stages in terms of the process, ever adapting to the different requirements of PPE. There were real issues in the children's care sector getting access to it even in the first stages of this. So you know in the worst of times, it brings out the heroic but we also had to speak out about some very challenging circumstances, particularly children in secure training centres, who were very, very restricted in these most difficult times. So obviously, some learning going forward. I'm sure that colleagues will adapt their practice.  A myth: social workers were not sitting in the office or at home, they were visiting children throughout those high risk, a lot of virtual work to add to the contact with perhaps looked after children and care levers. Absolutely that line of sight. If we didn't know it before, we absolutely endorse it again today. That line of sight is absolutely essential. And the virtual enhances it doesn't replace the human contact and human relationships.

CJ - Thanks very much event. Now, Chris, you've got the unenviable task of going last on a on a panel like this. Is there anything you'd like to add to what your colleagues have said?

CR - Yeah, I mean, I'm sure I'll be repeating in part really, but I mean two things, particularly for me, really. I mean, certainly made us all realise, I think the importance of our normal provision, and we now realise 18 months plus later how much we took it for granted. And I think, you know, of course for from speaking as the National Director for Education of course, that's the educational part. Of that in all its manifestations, really, you know, the impact that we've seen on that in terms of that breadth around the drama and music and the PE that all got hit through this time, but also that kind of protective effect as well. We really see the impact of that, don't we, I think in terms of physical fitness, but also mental health, our not having that kind of normality, and that normal provision, and that's such a profound effect on many young people. Because you know, with others have talked in the panel about the limitations of virtual and it's, and it's probably only coming back to things like this, isn't it that that has made us realise, actually the richness of the face to face. And while people work tirelessly to set up remote learning, really from pretty much nowhere in many cases. My daughter, as we went into lockdown was in her second year of teaching, teaching Year Four and she left me a no doubt at all about the limitations of remote learning. I have to tell you that so, you know, it's not the same and we've all recognised that very much. And we've also recognised that, you know, I think that some groups have been affected more than others. Some individuals have been affected more than others and when we bring out in the report the particular impact on people's with SEND, for example, prisoners, apprentices. So, you know, some groups some individuals have had a particular impact there, but I mean, certainly what's what we've also seen and we've very much seen through our work over the past year is been the commitment and the creativity of education and care professionals really. Coming in as an inspector, you will you will we all come from the you know, the fields that we inspect, we've all experienced it but I think I think Yvette talked about humility, and I think we've all felt a humility there really, with people facing with that creativity and that commitment and that resilience, unprecedented challenges that nobody expected to meet. And it's good to see that you know, people have faced those so positively. I mean, always remember, right back when we started entering visits since last September, going out on one of those, and seeing a school that had done really well and had coped really well. And even at that stage, we're seeing the positives about changes that they've made and I think that's a real tribute to people's creativity. But also to end on that and good to hear Harding's inspection outcomes and it's been good for us, I think, going back to routine inspection, this term to see you know, typically those very positive outcomes and actually seeing the progress that people have been able to make, despite those considerable challenges during the pandemic.

CJ - Thanks, Chris. You talked a bit about, all the panel, talked a bit about the kind of importance of the incredible hard work of professionals and support staff over the last over the last year I just want to expand on that a bit. Hardip, your staff, you mentioned setting up remote learning, setting up holiday provision. What were the biggest challenges?

HB - I think that one of the biggest challenges obviously was something that we all faced about the unknown nature of the pandemic and the quick changes for every person that said, I want one sentence of guidance and no more. There was another person who said, What do you mean how am I supposed to work with one sentence I need at least 10 pages of it. So I've got a lot of sympathy for my former colleagues in government in trying to meet that wide range of views. And then I joined a school leaders union and I see from the inside the tensions between different factions on there and I think that trying to comply, but use your own judgement during that period, I think was one of the biggest challenges. But also I think that as a sector, the vast majority of people who don't speak out, just get on with it and they do their best. And often, a lot of people speaking about these issues aren't representative of the day to day, staff that I know who get on and do what they're in the profession for, which is to meet the needs of young people.

CJ – Thanks Hardip. Amanda, I wonder if  you want to pick up on any of these themes around  the hard work professionals, as well because I know you try and visit as many as many schools and other providers as you can. What have you seen when you've been out and about recently?

AS - The effort that's gone in really does shine through and it's often interesting to see how much people want to talk about what they've done. I find it really interesting listening to pick the topic, people talk about how they've approached it and getting reassurance, I think, from the act of talking through because I think what's happened is so many people have had to make so many more decisions than usual, in very unfamiliar space. It's been a bit like putting every leader in the country back in day one of their jobs without anybody more experienced around to show them the ropes, and that that's an enormous strain on people. I think I think acknowledging the strain this has been for so many is really important. I mean, I do just want to temper Hardip’s, optimism, just a fraction. And I'm also optimistic. I think most children are resilient and I think we're seeing some encouraging signs that the average is moving quite quickly in the right direction. I think we I think we can see from a number of directions, that the spread has widened considerably relative to pre COVID levels. So we do have more children who are who are well behind where we would want them to be on all fronts and I think that's going to be going to be a real challenge which I'm confident that education and care can address well. But I don't want to be too pollyannish about it; but I do want this message of optimism that most children will do well. So there are people who are promulgating absolute doom and gloom and extrapolating hundreds of years or 1000s of years to get back. I don't see it that way. But I am hoping for some realism and for a very focused approach to recognising who needs help, who is actually going to be fine with a core experience of school, of care. Once you've once you've got the normal lessons, the extra curricular activities, the sport, the social life, the good adult relationships. Most will respond to that but who is it who needs who needs more and making sure that's really well marshalled. It's it is a big challenge, but I know people will rise to it.

CJ - I'm Jenny on the on the local authority side. What's been the biggest challenge for the social workers and their colleagues?

JC - I think I just like to pick up on the line of sight really, because although workers really rallied and thought of those creative ways, they only; what workers said to me is we only know what we know where we know families and we've built that relationship. We can hopefully navigate our way through and bring in support. But when we don't know and they were really worried that universal services in that first six months, had to be cut back and redeployed, and they and that really worried people because families didn't have access to those everyday health services all the time. You know, immunizations had to be caught up just those services where they could talk if they were having some challenges. And, you know, and that is, you know, is still a worry. And it's really important that you know, we wrap around those services, whether it's in early years or whether it's around schools, so families have access to support all their extended family to ask for help when they need it in a timely way. early on.

AS - Yes, I'm just to add to that the line of sight point is really important and something we were pressing on through last year and when you think about it, so much of Child Protection relies on having children who we know or who may be at risk in, in a lot of people's line of sight from different directions for all the different universal services as well as well as social services and others went when needed. And lockdown was a policy that was absolutely explicitly designed to minimise the number of people who each of us including every child saw, so there's some direct conflict in there that I hope will really be considered. If and I hope we don't but if we ever do need to contemplate any kinds of restrictions like last year, again.

CJ – Amanda, picking up on that. This time last year, your Annual Report, you spoke about the importance of schools in the community and the services that we now expect schools to provide and your questions kind of have we have we set up? Have we set up the system to reflect that that that new reality? I wonder if your thinking on the importance of schools as a community hub has evolved even further over the last year.

AS - I think it's absolutely been reinforced we and we made this point last year, I think it's reminded us all how important incredibly important nursery, schools, colleges are as institutions that anchor communities and give me give meaning to them. They've shown great breadth and flexibility I still think it is very important that we don't overload them in the long term. What's important is to have the right pieces and each one playing its part and we know that there is a sort of constant pressure to load more functions into education and we have on a number of occasions pushed back and said let's make sure that that schools job and their core job is really manageable and be sparing with the extra things we load on in perpetuity. So not withstanding that the admirable way that schools have stepped into some at some at some of the breaches, I hope it won't be necessary for them to take such broad roles in the longer term.

CJ - Some of the some of the biggest challenges that we highlighted in this year's Annual Report and have done over the year around children with special educational needs and disabilities. Have particularly hardly hit hard, hard hit by the services being withdrawn for unnecessary public health reasons. Yvette, do you want to talk in a bit more detail about what we've seen in our various inspections of SEND?

YS – I’ll start and perhaps Chris will come in; we cover the universal in the very specialist between us. I think we saw children at the most complex and having challenges getting into schools because of the health support that some of them need to function in that school environment. And also perhaps kept at home because of parental worries about their own health. Disabled children's holiday schemes weren't able to run them. It's a statement of the bloomin obvious but for families needing that welcome respite, it was a massive hit and we and the isolation that is often experienced by the parents of children with disabilities and SEN was enhanced. So it's one of those things we're all in the same storm but the boats are different and this particular group fared particularly poorly. Chris do you want to fo on to the more broader end?

CR - Yeah, I mean, just to I mean, practice to talk a little bit about special schools, particularly this point. I mean, we, you know, obviously, as I sort of mentioned the beginning, you know, in the report pupils with SEND is certainly a group that we've seen that have been particularly affected by the pandemic and, and we saw that in our special schools work and the work that we did there, the visits that we did there, and clearly, some of the things you touched on the particular challenges around multi agency services and the disruption to that there were particular travel challenges there as well in many cases, and we did see a strong impact and of course, then, even when the young people were in school, impact on the curriculum, and the diversity of experiences for those young people often wasn't anywhere near the same but we also saw, you know, many, many doing a really good job and we give an example in the Annual Report around attendance because clearly that's such an issue for many of those young people and actually the power of expectation and we give an example of one special school that you know, basically said it has to be 90%. Our aspiration is 90% attendance and they worked with parents and were able to sort of overcome some of those barriers and those understandable concerns that people had to actually get, you know, really high attendance there. And I think those are a good example of what can be done even with that creativity, even with a particular challenges that people did face there. I mean, in terms of our Area SEND work. I mean, we did a mixture of interim visits as we did in other areas, and more kind of normal inspection work towards the end of the year. I think what the interim visits did, which, you know, I think did well actually across our remits was give us a real picture of the challenges that people were facing at that point particularly in the in the autumn. And we you know, we did we did some of our inspection work and you know, as, as we found all the way through there really, you know, we you know, we did find in a number of cases that we needed to give a written statement of action because there were particular things that the local area needed to work on.

CJ – Thanks Chris. Hardip, you’re the optimist on the on the panel, and you said, you said to me yesterday, you felt were a bit a bit too, down in the dumps in this area.

HB - I think that it's not so much down in the dumps, but there have been a lot of problems in education for long periods of time, and I think it's the laying at the door of the pandemic some systemic problems, which have been there parents of children with SEND for long period of time have not been well served. And to say that is to do with the pandemic, I think is to do a disservice to let off the hook. People need to sort out some of the systemic problems, but I do want to echo Chris's point on special schools, but I think they are different than the SEND services provided by local authorities. I'm a member of the Eden Academy Trust, as well as the former Trustee of that, and you're sorry to go back to surveys. One of our schools surveyed, parents are overwhelmingly positive about the support that that special school had provided, and knew the circumstances of why young people weren't safe to come into coming to those schools. So I think the picture is varied and just using the term SEN, I think encompasses a whole range of provision, including excellent special school and excellent Multi-Academy Trust to some, quite frankly, appalling levels of SCN services and experiences in the system.

CJ -Hardip, you mentioned the challenges of attendance. And Chris, you mentioned attendance as well. Obviously, there's the challenges through the, the period of the pandemic but also as we as we try and get people back into school. What in particular, do you want to pick up on attendance?

HB - Well, I think your report picks up one really important issue again, another systemic issue that's been with us for a long period of time about withdrawing young people from school to electively home educate them. There's lots of excellent home educators out there but what has prompted the reasons why parents are withdrawn? And I don't think it's for the reason of providing them with a suddenly excellent education at home. There are other factors in relation to that. And do we have the services to be able to persuade those parents that actually education in a educational setting with expert teachers would be in the best interests of young people? But I think there are a group of young people now who have much more serious needs, whether their mental health needs, whether it's anxiety, whether that's parental anxiety, rather than anxiety with the pupil themselves, which do need to be addressed. I think you can't let them just carry on because they will get more and more entrenched. So as we go through this term, can't just sit there looking at the numbers because each week, each month that goes by, it's less and less likely their attendance will improve. And therefore I think we do need to have stronger intervention. Now on this on this issue, and I was glad that Ofsted picked it up in our inspections about the higher levels of persistent absence for our disadvantaged children, so we need to do better on that front.

CJ - And, Jenny, this issue of elective home education must be something that your colleagues and local government are thinking hard about.

JC - Absolutely. And not before the pandemic as well. This has been a year on year increase property for the last five or six years. How many Association Directors do an annual survey? I can see Gail nodding there. Yet again this year, we've seen actually quite a big increase which we were predicting because of the pandemic but this is something that's been there before and, you know, a chance to mention having a national register if you're going to give your child a good education, then why wouldn't you register with the local authority? I mean, that that will need to bring resources with it. But we're now at numbers where we need to really consider that

CJ – Amanda that’s something you've spoken about.

AS - I think I've talked about that in nearly every interview I've done today.

CJ - Chris, anything to pick up on on that.

CR - Oh, sorry. Apologies. Yeah, I mean, just to build on, you know, the point about attendance really, I mean, it's obviously it's, it's always been critical that that, you know, children and young people are attending and never more so given the, you know, the disruption that they've had, they're really and of course schools and other providers have always worked had to work hard to ensure the best attendance and even more so, of course now but I mean, I think those principles of how you achieve that remain the same, just really more important about having the expectations, communicating them, working with parents, where there are barriers, getting underneath the reasons looking at your data, analysing the data. And I think where we've seen that then we've seen that that impact, but of course, it has been more challenging than it was before. And those things have been more important than they were before. And of course, the whole COVID experience has created a bit of a cloud around all of that, hasn't it where there is a danger that some young people get lost to that and drop out of the system and don't attend anywhere near as much as they should.

CJ - Now I want to talk a bit about an element of Ofsted’s work that is perhaps is less well known than our work in education. our work in schools, and that's we spent quite a lot of time in the report and have done over several reports. Talking about children's homes, and the lack of accommodation for children who need a home like that. Yvette tell us a bit more about the challenges with children's homes around the country.

YS - Will we have the highest care population that we've ever had? And we have more adolescents coming into the care system with a broad range of more complex needs, including issues like mental health, including issues like county lines, sexual exploitation. So we've seen a seven fold increase in the numbers of children, where local authorities are going to the High Court to the court of inherent jurisdiction because these children need welfare, secure provision, and there just isn't enough. For these children. And so the court is, is agreeing that that threshold is met. But local authorities just can't find any provision to meet those needs. And then if you look beneath that at the broader range of children's homes, there just isn't enough provision in the right places in the country. So a quarter of the children's homes, they're up in the northwest and in parts of the Midlands, and in London, you've got to go 160 miles to find a secure bed. These are issues that have been there for some time. And Amanda's talked about some of the issues behind that possibly capitol building etc. And the cost of that, but we really need some planning across youth justice. Good policy is bringing children out of the criminal justice system, good policy and health is bringing children out of the Mental Health inpatient system, but that knitting together of a strategy, local, regional, and national to make sure that we've got the provision map for those children is something we've been talking about for some time, really pleased that there's some capital in the pot to help with some of that. I'm really looking forward to the Care Review. thinking very carefully about how that knitting happens to get the right provision in the right place meeting those children's needs.

CJ - And Jenny, Yvette talks about the increasing numbers of children who need care and who need these services at a kind of national level. What does that look like at a local level? What are the challenges of dealing with increasing numbers of children in that position?

JC - That I mean, this was a real challenge before the pandemic so and it might have been exacerbated, but it certainly there and over the last five or six years, the needs of children and young people in care has been changing and have become more complex. And therefore, the homes if we're taking them into care that we provide for them need to be able to wrap around them and having different funding streams for mental health. For social care, for education for all those things doesn't help and you know, I've said this when I was president that it really needs a cross departmental response at a national level at and at a local level. We need to be meeting the whole needs of the child not just parts of it. And, you know, Yvette talks about extra capital and so forth. But if the right home was provided at the right time with the right support, we may well not need as many residential homes. So I hope in the Care Review really looks at what children's need children need, as opposed to fitting them into buildings. And I think there's been a very strong message from young people as well. I'm not saying that's easy. But it's really fundamental if we're going to improve outcomes for children in care.

CJ - Great, and that's over this time next year, we can be talking about some solutions rather than just restating the problems again, I'm going to kind of finish off the discussion with kind of looking forward to the next year. Let's try and be a bit more positive about what 2022 might entail and what we're what we want to get out of 2022. So I'm going to go along the panel again, I'll go in reverse order just to be just to be fair, So, Chris, what are you hoping for the next year?

CR - I'm sure I'm hoping mainly for what everybody else is, which is more of that normality. I mean, I spoke at the beginning of how us taking that for granted. I'm not sure we do any more really, and what we all hoped for. We'll recognise the ongoing challenges that that professionals have been facing in education and care, both in terms of dealing with the current situation and of course, dealing with the legacy of the past 18 months. So I think more than anything else, we absolutely hoped for that normality and the restorative impact of that normality. You know, Amanda spoke about that earlier, really, and I think you know, that the resilience of young people, and I think that gives us some optimism there but it does need as much normality as possible. Despite the fact that as we know, people, as I said earlier, people are incredibly creative in actually dealing with the challenges that they do face. You know, I think we really hope for that. One thing that I would just add to that really is that what we've certainly seen in terms of remote learning and in terms of as children, young people returned to school and college and people got underneath and other providers and got underneath trying to remedy some of those gaps in knowledge and an understanding was that the more people really understand the curriculum, and can use that and can get underneath the gaps that exist and work out what the key knowledge and understanding is that's been missed. The more people understand that, the more successful they were in those areas. So I think, you know, hopefully, there's been a lot of learning in the system through that process, which will support that going forward to so that there are some elements of positive legacy there in that area.

CJ - Thanks very much, Chris, Yvette.

YS - Talking about that positive work across local partnerships, I hope that's built upon the child protection system needs everybody to play their parts and to understand each other's contribution. So I hope that's built upon. I think how early back to graded local authority inspection, I take my hat off to those places but have managed to improve and I know it's happening in the schools face to despite the extra burdens of COVID. The over 50% of local authorities have improved in their graded inspection as we moved from the previous regime to ILACS so I hope we build on that. We did see early years providers and children's homes coming forward to register. In fact, some did some spectacular work in early years. We haven't mentioned early years much providing childcare for hospitals. That was one of the really heroic things that that we should put on record our thanks to them for doing so. I'm hoping that good people to continue to come forward. I think there's more we can do to support the care workforce in terms of its training, support and pay I think there are issues still to address with that. But I'm but I'm optimistic in terms of what I'm seeing with people getting back hunkering down and making sure that they're doing the best for children.

CJ – Thanks Yvette, Hardip?

HB - Having been positive through all of this. I hope we don't go back to normality there are some major challenges facing the education system in this country. Jenny mentioned poverty for young people, low expectations, insufficient attainment. So I hope we don't get back to normal but use this opportunity to say, Isn't it time that we bring people together to try and solve some of these entrenched problems that have existed pre COVID and that we give education the attention that health has had over the last period and some of the funding that health has had to try and tackle some of these problems? And I do echo Amanda's point schools have stepped up over the period, but I don't think it's a long-term sustainable solution. If you want the best people to go into teaching and learning in schools to lay at their door. All of the problems that young people in society face.

CJ - Thank you. Hardip, Jenny?

JC - Well, we got two big reviews, the care review and the second review. I really hope they report over the coming year. And I also really look forward to continuing to build that evidence base of what works for children. And all of us keep that focus on children nationally and locally.

CJ - Thanks me and I'm under a career limiting move. I've given you the challenge of going last

AS - Thank you. I like a much of what everybody said but that that return to normality, which I think will release everybody in education, social work, social care, to be to do the jobs they came to do not to be COVID managers anymore. And I think releasing that capacity will energise them and bring them afresh to the problems that the kinds of problems that Hardip talked about, I've talked about with the energy and capacity to focus on the things they want to be focusing on. So that's what I hope to be talking about. This time next year.

CJ – Thank you Amanda. Thank you all very much for making the trip. Thank you to our panel and particularly our guests.

 

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