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Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman warned there was no “quick fix” to long-term problems in the child welfare sector.
In her introduction to the inspection’s annual report, Ms Spielman noted that conglomerates in the children’s home market have grown and warned of a regional imbalance in supply – with little housing in the south- west and east of England and plenty in the north.
She said support for discharges continues to vary across the country and the isolation of many discharges from care during the pandemic should be addressed.
Warning that it will take years for the impact of the ‘hokey-cokey’ nature of pandemic-related school closings to become clear, Ms Spielman said the education of many children has indeed been put on hold. .
However, she also highlighted the excellent leadership and work of many boards, children’s homes, schools and other education providers in response.
Released immediately after the murder trial of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, the report notes that “many vulnerable children have disappeared from teachers’ sight.”
Ms Spielman said: “At the start of the school year (2020-21) there was a lot of concern about children who had been taken away from the watchful eyes of their teachers… In the fall term [of 2020], the expected spike in referrals to social services did not materialize immediately, but the numbers started to rise and more children referred had high or acute needs. ‘