It is absolutely vital that no child is left behind with their learning as a result of this pandemic. Education is an issue that’s very close to my heart. Two decades before being elected to Parliament, I taught music for five years at an inner-London mixed community school. I know first-hand the importance of education on a young person’s life chances, and one of my greatest concerns with the recent lockdowns we have endured has been the devastating impact it has had on education.
Throughout the lockdowns of the past year, I have called for school re-opening to be prioritised. And now that the end of restrictions is in sight, I am pushing my colleagues in Government to make more money available to help students catch up with their education.
Of course, the significant support the Government has already announced is very welcome – £3 billion so far for teachers and pupils. In June, an expansion to the education recovery plan was announced which includes £1 billion for the National Tutoring Programme to provide up to 6 million, 15-hour tutoring courses for disadvantaged school children. £250 million will be made available to give 500,000 teachers world-class training, with a further £400 million to support early years practitioners. Funding will also be available to give some Year 13 students the option to repeat their final year. I know that other measures, such as an expansion to the length of the school day, are still being considered.
I will continue to push for more support to help our young people catch up with their education and access the opportunities that education can offer.