Help your pupils understand world events such as Ukraine crisis, Ofsted boss urges headteachers

AN EDUCATION boss is urging schools across the country – including in Portsmouth – to engage with their pupils as they watch ‘terrible’ world events unfold.

Saturday, 12th March 2022, 4:42 pm
Updated Saturday, 12th March 2022, 4:43 pm

The head of Ofsted has addressed headteachers, saying that they will need to help pupils understand complex global issues such as the crisis in Ukraine.

Speaking to the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders, Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s chief inspector, said that ‘children here know what’s going on in the world’ and that ‘they absorb information, not all of it accurate, and they also share their concerns with their friends’.

She added: ‘Once again you will need to help them understand world events that are outside their control, while minimising their anxieties.

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Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman. Picture: Ofsted/PA Wire

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She said that watching the ‘terrible scenes’ unfolding in Ukraine were a ‘stark reminder that Covid has no monopoly on creating fear and concern’.

She condemned ‘the terrible impact of the Russian invasion on the lives of all Ukrainians’, adding that this fell particularly on the children, ‘who suffer so much and whose future is so uncertain’.

On Friday, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi told the ASCL conference that online classroom Oak National would be providing auto-translated versions of its lessons in Ukrainian and Russian for 100,000 newly arrived refugee pupils.

Ms Spielman told heads that the disruption of the last two years had ‘fractured the social contract’ around education.

She added: ‘For years that contract has been clear, parents have a responsibility to get their children to school, with minimum absences, and in return schools do their level best to educate and look after those children’.

She added that it was now time to ‘remake that contract’, with Ofsted’s research finding that schools with strong attendance strategies ‘unsurprisingly’ proving more adept at ensuring pupils came into school during the pandemic.

The head of Ofsted also told headteachers not to run mock inspections as these are a ‘waste of precious time’.

Ms Spielman said she was ‘acutely aware’ of teacher workload and wellbeing which had been ‘thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic’.

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