Labour urges Conservative MPs to vote for its education catch-up plans

Catherine Gaunt
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Labour will use an opposition day motion on Wednesday to push for Conservative MPs to end the ‘catalogue of chaos’ and back 'an ambitious plan' for children's education recovery, ahead of the school summer holidays.

Labour says the Government's education recovery plan is 'totally insufficient' PHOTO Adobe Stock
Labour says the Government's education recovery plan is 'totally insufficient' PHOTO Adobe Stock

The party said that the Prime Minister has presided over a string of high-profile failures on education, which peaked last week with the resignation of Sir Kevan Collins, who was appointed personally by Boris Johnson as 'catch-up tsar' just a few months earlier.

Sir Kevan resigned over a funding row, and what he called the Government's ‘half-hearted approach’ to education recovery for hundreds of thousands of children, whose learning has been disrupted by the pandemic.

Last week the Government announced £1.4 billion in new funding for extra tuition and teacher training, just one tenth of the £15bn that Sir Kevan had recommended was needed for pupils to catch up with lost learning from Covid. The Government has said it has committed over £3bn so far.

Labour said a ‘series of blunders’ under the Prime Minister’s leadership, included failing to feed children over the October half-term and having to be shamed into doing so over the 2020 Christmas and summer holidays.

It also cited 'an exams fiasco' last summer as thousands of students received unfair grades amid the Government’s algorithm chaos, and a u-turn on holding exams this summer

Testing chaos throughout the autumn term had kept children out of school, with testing not in place for children in schools until five months after Labour called for them to be prioritised, the party said.

Labour also claims that the tutoring policy which has recently announced by the Government will deliver less than an hour of tutoring a fortnight to pupils across the next school year.

It is calling on the Government to listen to teachers, parents and young people and vote to bring back a plan for children’s recovery before the summer, which matches the ambition of Labour’s proposals put forward last week.

If passed, the vote would require inclusion of policies set out in Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan such as providing funding for schools to deliver new extracurricular clubs and activities to boost wellbeing, deliver targeted support for children who have missed out most, and an extension to free school meals this summer ensuring no child goes hungry over the holidays.

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Kate Green MP, will discuss Labour’s plan with teachers and children at a breakfast club and school visit in London today. 

Speaking ahead of the vote she said, ‘This catalogue of chaos makes a mockery of the Prime Minister’s claim that education is a priority. Throughout his premiership children, young people and families have been let down time and time again. 

‘Boris Johnson has not lifted a finger to secure the investment in children’s futures his own education expert said is needed, announcing a recovery plan that is totally insufficient to help every child bounce back from the pandemic.

‘Labour's bold plans would invest in our children’s futures, compensating for the Conservatives’ failures over the last year, to ensure all children can play, learn and develop after the pandemic. 

‘Conservative MPs will have the chance to vote with Labour today and finally commit to ambitious plans to invest in our children’s futures.’

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