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Labour warns Conservative chaos could undermine children’s future ambitions as analysis shows over 346 million days of face to face school lost this year

Kate Green

Labour (@UKLabour) is today warning that the Conservatives’ chaotic management of the pandemic could undermine children’s future ambitions as Labour analysis shows an estimated 346 million days of face to face school have been lost this year.

The Conservatives have failed to respond to the scale of this lost time in education, with a pitiful recovery package worth just 10% of what their own expert education adviser said was needed to help children bounce back from the pandemic.

The level of face to face teaching lost amounts to over eight weeks per pupil across England, in addition to an average of 14 weeks of face to face school missed last year. However, this impact is not being felt evenly, with pupils on free school meals 30% more likely to have been out of school in the autumn term, and pupils across the North of England having, on average, an additional week out of school compared with their southern peers.

The Conservatives’ lack of ambition for children’s recovery means an estimated 560,000 year 11 students are leaving secondary school this summer without any catch-up support, while over the next four years nearly two million pupils will miss out hampering their development and risking their ambitions for the future.

Labour’s warning comes ahead of results days when over 782,000 year 11 and 13 pupils will receive centre assessed A-level, GCSE and BTEC grades. The Government has failed to set out how it will ensure results represent a level playing field for pupils who have missed most time in school, with concerns already being raised that the most advantaged pupils are set to benefit from the Government’s system.

Labour has set out its own recovery plan with a promise to match children and young people’s ambition and optimism for their own futures. The £15bn package would give all schools the resources to deliver new activities – from sports and drama to music or book clubs – alongside targeted academic catch-up and small group tutoring for all who need it.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“The Conservatives have treated children as an afterthought failing to keep them learning together in school with their friends.

“Ministers have now compounded this failure with an utterly inadequate recovery plan which will leave millions of children without any additional support, showing a shocking lack of ambition for their future ambitions and life chances.

“Labour has set out a bold plan to invest in our children’s futures, compensating for the Conservatives’ failures over the last year, to ensure all children can learn, play and develop after the pandemic. It’s time for the Conservatives to get behind Labour’s plan and match our ambition for children’s futures.”

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