Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, has accused the Conservatives of neglecting children’s futures after announcing a recovery package worth 10 times less than their education catch-up ‘tsar’, Sir Kevan Collins, said was needed.
Children across the West Midlands have missed an estimated 103 days of in-person school – over half a normal school year – but the Conservatives’ meagre ‘catch-up’ plan provides just 91 pence per child for every day of in-person school missed. Their plan also includes nothing about children’s wellbeing or social development, despite parents saying this is their top concern after the isolation of lockdown, while reinvesting in their failing tutoring programme which is currently only reaching less than 2% of school pupils.
In contrast, Labour’s new Children’s Recovery Plan would harness children’s excitement at being back at school by creating new opportunities for young people to play, learn and develop. Labour’s plan would deliver investment of £695m in the West Midlands to ensure all schools can deliver a new range of activities and extracurricular clubs, quality mental health support in every school, small group tutoring for all who need it and extending free school meals over the holidays.
Shabana Mahmood, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood, said:
“The pandemic has had a profound impact on children’s wellbeing, social development and learning. Recent polling saw parents name improving wellbeing as a priority, yet the Conservatives have failed to include any mention of this in their plan and continue to waste taxpayers’ money on a failing tutoring programme.
“Labour’s innovative Children’s Recovery Plan, informed by parents, teachers and children, would ensure children not only recover, but are supported and encouraged to prosper. The Tories measly 91 pence per child investment is not going to achieve this.
“We need a comprehensive education plan for the children of Birmingham Ladywood. Time and time again the Government provides piecemeal action that does nothing to tackle the underlying inequalities in our education system. That’s why they should have backed our motion in Parliament.
“Under Labour’s plans, no child would be held back by the Government’s failure to protect learning and wellbeing throughout the pandemic. It is essential to close the disadvantage gap in education and match the ambition children have for their own futures by putting them at the heart of our national recovery.”
Notes to editors:
- School catch-up tsar resigns over lack of funding: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-57335558
- Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan would invest £14.7 billion of two years: https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/15059_21-Childrens-Recovery-Plan.pdf
- Parents have reported their children’s wellbeing and social development to be their top concern post-pandemic: 56% of parents in an IpsosMori poll named increased wellbeing as their top priority to help children catch-up: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/three-ten-home-schooling-parents-say-it-did-not-go-well
- Tutoring reaching just 1%: At an education select committee hearing on 29 April, Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP said: “the latest figures are that of those enrolled, over 110,000 have commenced tutoring and 44% of those are eligible for pupil premium funding.” This equates to just 1.24% of children receiving support under the Government’s tutoring scheme: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/2142/pdf/
- For more information, contact Ben Goldsborough at firstname.lastname@example.org