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Education row explodes as Gavin Williamson says £ 1.4bn is enough – schools furious | United Kingdom | New UK News

BBC Breakfast: Gavin Williamson asked about summer schools

Writing exclusively for the Sunday Express, Mr Williamson backed this week’s announcement of £ 1.4bn for the education stimulus fund – well below the estimated envelope of £ 15bn suggested by the commissioner for the revival of education. Mr Williamson insisted: “Helping our children recover from the impact of the pandemic will take time. Students, parents and staff have all experienced tremendous disruption and this government has no illusions that an ambitious long-term plan will be needed to help recover the lost learning.

He added: “The issues children face are complicated. Everyone’s experience over the past 16 months has been different.

“What we do know is that complex problems seldom have simple solutions – and that’s why we’ve gone to so much trouble to make sure that behind all the big money and promises of donations, we have a package that will give students the support they need people. “

His comments came after Sir Kevan Collins resigned his post as education revival commissioner on Wednesday, warning that the government’s support package “falls short of meeting the needs”.

Mr Williamson thanked Sir Kevan for his role as commissioner to revive education, but defended the government’s approach of investing in student tutoring and teacher training. He also pledged to review “the benefits of a longer school day”.

Mr Williamson said: “This is our third major financing plan in twelve months and it takes money. we are committed to helping young people make up for lost time at over £ 3 billion. But we made it clear that there was more to do.

He added: “Tutoring is at the heart of our approach to helping children catch up because it is proven to work.

Gavin Williamson

Gavin Williamson backed the announcement this week of £ 1.4bn for the education stimulus fund (Image: Getty)

“Our next step will be to look at the benefits of a longer school day. This doesn’t necessarily mean just keeping the kids in classrooms for extra lessons, it also means creating space for sports, music, and activities, as well as more time for small group tutoring.

Sir Kevan wanted £ 15bn for the stimulus package and his calls for a huge investment were echoed by other leading experts in education and child health.

Last night, former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said it was vital to “invest in children” if we are to level the country and she warns that it will take “years” for children to grow up. are recovering from Covid-19.

She said the government could not “afford to bet” on “our doctors, nurses, factory workers and farmers of the future.”

However, she said the Treasury was more interested in “more difficult issues” such as holidays or helping businesses bounce back, adding that we are behind other countries on this issue.
The UK spends less on helping children catch up than other countries, according to the Education Policy Institute with £ 310 per person over three years, compared to £ 1,600 in the US and £ 2,500 in the Netherlands. Low.

Sir Kevan Collins

Sir Kevan Collins resigned as education revival commissioner on Wednesday (Image: PA wire)

Ms Longfield, who was the Children’s Commissioner until February of this year, said: ‘I was very sorry to see Kevan Collins go and I have immense respect for him as a person who knows about education. of children and who provides what is needed. He acknowledged that the damage cannot be repaired in a matter of months.

“We need years of hard work for children to catch up in narrow academic subjects and help children recover socially, while providing extra support to those who have fallen behind.”

On average, children have missed an average of 115 days of school, Ms. Longfield said, and in poorer areas children are five months late.

It is estimated that 200,000 students are expected to go to secondary schools this year, unable to read or write correctly, she added.

The government has pledged to ‘level’ the country after the pandemic, bringing similar levels of wealth and opportunityunity to the previously less favored areas of the North and Midlands.

She added: “When it comes to the money talks, however, it’s the more difficult issues like time off and business rebound that receive a positive response from the Treasury.

“Taking it to the next level and investing in the future should mean investing in our children. These are our doctors, nurses, factory workers and farmers of the future and we cannot afford to bet on them.

Anne Longfield

Former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield regrets “investing in children” essential (Image: UK Govt.)

“We have been slow compared to other countries which are quicker to understand the harm to children.

“We cannot underestimate the damage. The scale of the challenge is immense, and we need a long-term plan to recover from the biggest disruption in education since World War II.

Sir Kevan Collins, who has worked in education for 30 years, was named the remedial school czar in February and said the recovery program should also feature sports, music “and the rich range of activities that define an excellent education ”.

He also believed that schools in England should extend their days by three years, to ensure that extracurricular or creative activities were not excluded.

However, that is not what has been announced, and the current plan will include £ 1 billion to support up to six million 15-hour tutoring courses for underprivileged children, as well as an expansion of the schooling 16-19.

Some £ 400million will be used to train and support early childhood practitioners and 500,000 teachers, while some 13th grade students will have the opportunity to repeat their final year.

Sir Kevan said: “After the most difficult years, a comprehensive stimulus package – properly funded and sustained over several years – would rebuild a stronger and fairer system.


Government pledged to ‘level’ country after pandemic (Image: Getty)

“A half-hearted approach risks failing hundreds of thousands of students. The support announced by the government so far is not up to the challenge and that is why I have no choice but to resign my post.

Professor Ellen Townsend, professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham, agrees, saying children are suffering from serious mental health issues due to the lack of focus on their needs throughout the pandemic and the period post-pandemic.

She said: “There is good literature to show that children should come first in a disaster and cared for first when we come out of a disaster. We did not do that.

Professor Townsend, an expert on suicide and self-injury, added: “Experts have now identified a youth mental health emergency linked to the pandemic because young people are doing so badly and hospitals are saying extreme cases of self-harm from eating disorders and depression which intensified following the containment measures. We don’t have all the data yet, but we do know that eating disorders have skyrocketed in children, along with tics, twitching, and depression. These are real things and they will take real resources.

“A child’s resilience relies on the resources they have available to feed themselves. It is not finished and there is no infinite internal source of resilience. As adults we have to provide these resources and that exaggerates the sums of money that have been spent on the physical health of adults. Hundreds of billions have been thrown on coronavirus and lateral flow tests. It is completely unfair to spend relatively little on children.

“Millions of education days have also been lost. A lack of education limits life and a child with a richer and more sustained education is more likely to live longer. We have compromised children’s chances by cutting off the quality education and face-to-face interactions that are vital to their development.

During the pandemic, there has been a 400% increase in the number of private tutor courses taken with the private tutoring industry, worth an estimated £ 6.5 billion a year.

Bertie Hubbard, co-founder of the EdTech MyTutor platform, said:
“The past twelve months have been an incredibly difficult year for teens and parents with months without school, canceled exams, not seeing friends and worrying about Covid-19. As schools reopen, making up for lost learning and preparing for assessed work this term will bring another set of challenges for teens. “

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This notice was published: 2021-06-05 23:01:00

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