There follows a guest post by Hugh McCarthy, a retired Headteacher in Northern Ireland who until recently served as a Director on two of the province’s main education councils and who remains a ministerial appointment on one.
The damage to our children highlighted in recent reports and briefly summarised below should act as a clarion call and a warning that we should never close schools again, never send children home to isolate and avoid wearing masks around children. And the whole edifice has been based on the fear-inducing, ineffective and harm-causing masks and the totally misleading and flawed PCR tests.
As I revealed in these two articles, the tragedy is the evidence was there from the start, before we inflicted such damaging policies on our children.
This article addresses the question, What do we do now?
First, a brief reminder of what the education reports found. The Ofsted report highlighted a huge range of damaging impacts including:
delays in babies’ physical development;
a generation of babies struggling to crawl and communicate;
toddlers struggling with speech and language;
regression in children’s independence.
Research by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) found that the negative impact of Covid lockdowns continues as children get older. The impact of lockdowns on the development of literacy skills at an early age is of “particular concern”, the report states, as “early reading plays a key part in children’s later achievement”. It adds:
We found that, compared to what we would have expected pre-pandemic, there were well over double the proportion of children who barely scored any marks on the reading assessments in Year 1 and in Year 2 in the last school year.
The observations of the Head of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in Northern Ireland back up what the reports say: “A growing number of young children are experiencing significant communication problems following the Covid lockdowns. We’re seeing young children who can’t talk at all.”
These findings should set alarm bells ringing.
Does it matter?
The importance of these early years is highlighted in the recently published Fair Start report into educational underachievement.
The scale of the tragedy is underlined by the substantial body of research contained in the report. It emphasises that “children’s early experiences have a profound and lasting impact on their future learning and development”, and confirms that “investing in quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children has significant and long term benefits for individuals and society”.
A study by the New South Wales Government quantifies the harm. Its finding that 90% of brain development takes place in the first five years (2,000 days) of life underlines the crucial importance of not making the same mistakes again.
Are children at risk from Covid? What were the risks to young children for which many have paid such a heavy and potentially life changing price? Data show children have a 99.999% survival chance if they contract the virus.
And we already knew. The data have been clear since March 2020. According to Dr. David Bell, a world renowned public health official, “Most people, working age adults and very young children were at very very low risk”. He maintains that “accurate data and balanced evidence should be made available to the public and key decision makers to make decisions that are in everyone’s interest”.
Unlike the rest of the world, Sweden maintained some semblance of normality. The citizens of this country generally didn’t have to wear face masks, young children continued going to school, leisure activities were largely allowed to continue unhindered. Why didn’t we look more closely?
One analysis compared the death tolls in over 50 countries, including the U.K., that had locked down, countries that had variously shut down playgrounds, forced their children to wear facemasks and closed schools. The research found that they have all been hit worse than Sweden in terms of total Covid mortality. This means that “almost every single government intervention, in particular, lockdowns, school closures, mask mandates, mass testing and ‘contact tracing’”, as well as ‘vaccine passports’, have been entirely ineffective and unjustified while having caused almost unprecedented social and economic harm”.