It's feared that children hit hardest by the effects of UK lockdown are forgetting essential skills such as going to the toilet and using a knife and fork.
The stark reality of lockdown and the impact it is having on child development has been highlighted by Ofsted.
As a regulator of standards in education, children’s services and skills, the watchdog has discovered that children suffering the most by nursery and school closures have regressed in some basic skills and learning.
From struggling with school work and eating to being unable to use the toilet when needed, a series of reports carried out before the second UK lockdown, revealed youngsters have gone back to using nappies and eating with their fingers.
Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman said, “Leaders reported regression back into nappies among potty-trained children and others who had forgotten some basic skills they had mastered, such as eating with a knife and fork – not to mention the loss of early progress in words and numbers.”
Meanwhile older children now lack “stamina” in reading and writing, while there’s been a rise in older pupils self-harming or suffering from eating disorders, warned Ofsted.
The report follows 900 visits to education and social care providers across England since September and it’s not just children from poor backgrounds who are regressing.
Instead, those who are coping well have a good support structure around them, findings show.
It suggested some parents who were unable to work more flexibly in lockdown, saw their potty-trained children return to early years settings using nappies and dummies at an older age than expected.
In addition, the report found some pupils’ concentration, or their mental and physical stamina, had declined during the pandemic, with headteachers reporting that students were finding it difficult to write for long periods of time.
In particular, boys who had spent more time video gaming at home had seen a reported change in their behaviour at school.
“Some leaders said pupils were fatigued, ‘disconnected’ from learning or struggling to stay awake and alert,” the report added.
And the problem is feared to worsen after an increase in homeschooling which has been driven my families’ anxieties about Covid-19 rather than because educating had gone well during the first lockdown.
Ms Spielman is due to appear before MPs on the Education Select Committee to speak about the impact of Covid-19 on pupils.