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Recovery from COVID-19

This page provides a summary of the key messages relating to recovery from COVID-19 during the academic year 2021-22. Click on the arrows for more details.

Positive aspects

  • Most learners have welcomed the return to face-to-face provision and generally engage better than they did online, though many providers are retaining elements of remote learning.
  • Many of the ‘issues’ affected by the pandemic, such as the decline in learners’ skills, have gradually improved since the return to more ‘normal’ education.
  • Providers across sectors have placed a strong emphasis on supporting well-being, which has resulted in increased and more wide-ranging provision.
  • Leaders across all sectors have demonstrated agility and creative thinking in responding to the pandemic and have worked purposefully to re-establish experiences affected by restrictions, such as extra-curricular activities.
  • Due to improved and more extensive communication over the pandemic, providers in general have a better understanding of the families and communities they serve.
  • Many providers gradually returned to self-evaluation and quality assurance activities as the year progressed, resulting in a better understanding of the impact of their work.

Issues and concerns

  • Cases of COVID-19 among learners and staff caused continued disruption to teaching and learning throughout the year.
  • Overall, learners’ skills have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. This is especially the case for numeracy and literacy skills, particularly oracy skills. The social and personal skills of a minority of learners have also been affected, especially the youngest children and those who have struggled to settle back in to more ‘normal’ educational routines. 
  • Learners’ use of spoken Welsh generally declined as a result of the pandemic.
  • Restrictions have had a negative impact on learning involving practical elements, including work placements, practical assessments for vocational qualifications and subjects such as music, design and technology and physical education.
  • Overall, the progress providers are making towards implementation of the Curriculum for Wales is too variable.
  • Across all sectors, there has been a notable increase in demand for well-being and mental health support.
  • Attendance, in schools in particular, continues to be below pre-pandemic levels and persistent absence issues have increased.
  • There have been significant challenges related to staffing, particularly in terms of managing COVID-related absences, sourcing supply staff and recruiting new staff.
  • A few providers across all sectors have been slow to resume self-evaluation activities, resulting in an incomplete understanding of their strengths and areas for improvement.