Labor plans to embarrass government with vote on remedial school plan | Education
Labor has vowed to force a vote on the government’s ‘totally insufficient’ plans to help pupils catch up on learning lost during the pandemic, as Tory MPs demand an urgent overhaul of the curriculum.
Senior Conservatives are calling for a broader program that could include trials of a longer school day and extended physical education and wellness activities, to help children in England rehabilitate after time spent out of the classroom.
Amid suggestions that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had fought for a significantly bigger catch-up program in government, his department released an analysis on Friday that showed much of the progress of the last decade towards closing the achievement gap for disadvantaged children could have been lost during the pandemic.
Labor expects a vote following the resignation of Sir Kevan Collins, the government commissioner for education revival, after condemning plans for a £ 1.4bn stimulus fund as woefully insufficient . He said the figure betrays “an underestimation of the importance of education”.
Collins had drawn up plans that would require a £ 15bn learning clawback fund to be spent on teachers, tutoring and an extended school day. His proposals included 100 additional hours of instruction per student to address learning loss.
While Labor intends to embarrass the government with the vote, Conservatives concerned about the catch-up plan have said they would likely abstain rather than rebel. Some already believe the backlash will result in the announcement of more money in the coming weeks. Williamson suggested he was in favor of longer school days, but is awaiting research on the matter.
Kate Green, the shadow secretary for education, said the children had been “treated after the fact” in the government’s pandemic planning. “The resignation of Kevan Collins clearly shows that the government’s education stimulus package is totally insufficient to help every child recover from these impacts of the pandemic,” she said. “Conservative MPs will now have the chance to stand up and vote for the future of our children.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders union, also said students appeared to be “very low on the government’s priority list.” Labor said the economic impact of the learning loss was at least £ 100bn, with a potential loss to the economy and the country of £ 420bn. He has crafted his own proposals for a £ 14.7 billion catch-up plan, including breakfast clubs for every child, mental health support and more small group tutoring for students who need it. .
A government spokesperson said: ‘We have embarked on an ambitious long-term stimulus package, including an investment to date of over £ 3 billion and a significant expansion of our mentoring program, to help children and youth to make up for learning lost during the pandemic. “