Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, joined the Labour Party this week in triggering a vote to force the Chancellor to explain to MPs and constituents the Government’s decision to reject the recommendations for an education recovery from Sir Kevan Collins, the former education expert who quit as a result of this rejection.
The Labour Party have set out their plans for education recovery, which include extracurricular activities and an emphasis on mental health. These plans include: breakfast clubs and new activities for every child; quality mental health support in every school; small group tutoring for all who need it, not just 1%; continued development for teachers; an Education Recovery Premium; and expanded plans for free school meals.
Labour are calling particularly for a recognition of the impact of the pandemic on early years and the socialisation that has not been able to happen for our youngest members of society as well as adequate support for those in exam years and those in higher education and vocational training schools.
Locally, Karin secured a roundtable meeting between the Education Minister, Nick Gibb MP, and the Regional Schools Commissioner. This meeting, arranged by Karin, ensured that the minister could hear of the difficulties being faced by South Bristol schools.
Karin Smyth MP said:
“Our young people are our future and the Government owe it to them to ensure that their futures are not put in jeopardy because of the pandemic. Unfortunately, this Government seem determined to ignore the needs of our children and young people and are not putting in place the support and resources that they need.
“It has been an incredibly challenging year for our children and young people. We have to recognise that they have not only lost out academically. Children turning a year old may not have met many other people; they will not have had the experiences of being out and about with their parents in busy environments and other young children will have been a year without much socialisation. Teachers will need a lot of support to help our children process this and parents need the assurance that their children will be fully supported.
“The Government need to explain why they have rejected experts’ recommendations on education recovery and if they cannot do so satisfactorily, then they need to change tack and ensure that sufficient resources are deployed to support an education recovery. Without it, Britain’s recovery will be far more difficult.”