‘Must never happen again’ Lockdown’s destructive impact on children’s confidence laid bare

Boris Johnson ‘can’t rule out’ another lockdown

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A new Ofsted report suggests the Government’s response to Covid could have a lasting, negative impact on Britain’s young, who were forced to spend long stretches of some of their most important formative years in social isolation. Yet the Prime Minister has refused to rule out repeating his policy of locking the country down, insisting “there could be a new variant, more deadly” – one that “affects children badly, that we really need to contain”.

Daily Sceptic Editor-in-Chief Toby Young warned this was a mistake given the evidence points to lockdowns doing far more harm than good.

He told Express.co.uk: “Politicians and their scientific advisors placed the entire country under house arrest in March 2020 without giving any thought to the long-term impact on the economy, mental health or children’s development. Now we’re reaping the whirlwind.

“Lockdowns must never happen again.”

Arabella Skinner, from children’s campaign group UsForThem, added the Government’s approach, and its refusal to rule out further lockdowns, demonstrates “children have never been at the front of the discussion of what the risk is and what the value is”.

She said: “The problems we are seeing now are evidence of that.”

The Ofsted report highlighted that children have come out of lockdown more anxious than ever.

It revealed: “Personal, social and emotional development continues to be affected. Children were lacking confidence and were shy in childcare settings, especially when taking part in group activities…

“Providers reported that babies were particularly anxious and not used to seeing different faces.

“Children’s social and friendship-building skills have been affected. Some providers reported that toddlers and pre-school children needed more support with sharing and turn-taking.”

These problems were not, however, limited to younger children.

In a finding that begs questions of why lockdown policies appear still to be on the cards, Ofsted reported “even older children who would have usually settled were still upset when dropped off” at school.

READ MORE: Babies suffering after months of lockdowns and masks

Issues with anxiety have been even greater among children with additional care needs, according to specialists working in the field.

One Assistant Psychologist who works within complex trauma children’s homes in the Midlands told Express.co.uk many children in care who already suffered from a range of trauma-induced anxiety disorders have seen their conditions “exacerbated” by long, isolating, stress-filled lockdowns.

They added struggles around the forming of relationships in school have been “worsened” and will be more difficult for care providers to work to overcome.

The children for whom consistency is most essential following years of disruption have, the AP warned, suffered yet “another hit to their routine” – one that will continue to have an impact.

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Children have been reported to face increasing difficulties with the most basic of tasks, including putting on their coat and blowing their nose, after two years of intermittent lockdowns.

Babies, who spent most of their limited time in public around masked adults, have also found to be “struggling with facial expressions”, according to the Ofsted report.

But one teacher trainer working in a north London primary school suggested has still not fully recognised the damage its response to Covid inflicted on Children.

They told Express.co.uk: “At my school, we definitely haven’t had any external help to deal with the impact of lockdown.

“It just falls on the teaching assistants and more time is taken away from teaching.”

Demand for external education support has surged, for those who can afford it.

Sandra Chappell, a speech and language therapist with more than 30 years’ experience, told this paper her referral rate has continued to increase since lockdown and is now around “four times what it was pre-pandemic”.

External resources can, however, only stretch so far and campaigners fear many children will never catch up to where, without lockdown, they might otherwise have been.

The Government has been approached for comment.

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