Labour PLOT! Opposition to force vote on school catch-up plan – ‘Totally insufficient’


    News of the forced vote in the Commons comes just days after Sir Kevan Collins, the Government’s education recovery commissioner resigned. Sir Kevan left his post on Wednesday after condemning the Government’s £1.4 billion recovery fund for children whose education has been badly affected by school closures during the pandemic.

    He warned that the support package falls “far short of what is needed” and accused ministers of “failing hundreds of thousands of pupils”.

    Labour hopes the forced vote will apply pressure to Government backbenchers in the wake of Sir Kevan’s condemnation together with backlash from senior Tory MPs.

    Kate Green, the Shadow education secretary, told PA: “The Conservatives have treated children as an afterthought throughout the pandemic and are now neglecting them in our recovery.

    “Kevan Collins’ resignation makes it clear that the Government’s education recovery plan is totally insufficient to help every child bounce back from these impacts of the pandemic.

    “Conservative MPs will now have the chance to step up and vote for our children’s futures.”

    Before his departure, Sir Kevan reportedly urged for a £15bn learning recovery fund and around 100 hours of extra teaching per pupil to make up for the lost time.

    He also recommended schools should be funded for an extension to school time which works out to 30 extra minutes every day.

    Sir Kevan’s recovery fund would cost around 10 times more than previous plans announced by Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson.

    The Labour party said Sir Kevan’s report had found that children were estimated to have lost two to four months of learning during the coronavirus shutdowns.

    The report added that students were expected to leave school with worse GCSEs, while the country’s youngest children are behind on basic literacy and social development.

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    The economic impact is estimated to be a minimum of £100 billion with a potential loss to the economy and country of £420 billion, the party said.

    Labour has previously unveiled its own blueprint for a £14.7 billion catch-up plan, which would include breakfast clubs for every child, quality mental health support in all schools and small group tutoring.

    The Government’s £1.4bn recovery fund will be added to the £1.7bn already pledged for extra teaching.

    Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union the NAHT, said the funding proposed was “a fraction of what is needed.”

    He said: “Sadly, children and young people seem to be very far down the Government’s list of priorities.

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    “Schools are doing great work aiding recovery – they just need the Government to back them with the resources they need for the job at hand.”

    A Government spokeswoman said: “We have committed to an ambitious, long-term education recovery plan, including an investment to date of over £3 billion and a significant expansion of our tutoring programme, to support children and young people to make up for learning lost during the pandemic.”

    The Labour party intends to pile the pressure on ministers during an opposition day debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday.


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