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NEU launches proposals for 2020 Summer Holiday Offer for Children and Young People

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@NEUnion launches call for funding for local government to co-ordinate 2020 Summer Holiday Offer for Children and Young People 

Commenting on the launch of NEU proposals for Local Government to be funded and supported to co-ordinate a Summer Holiday Local Offer (attached), to support vulnerable children and young people over the summer holiday,

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:   

“The NEU is today publishing positive recommendations for the summer holiday. They focus on engagement, exercise, creativity, and preparing young people to be ready to learn come September. This ‘Local Offer’ will also make a vital contribution to children’s physical and mental health. 

“The summer of 2020 will be a unique situation, and it is vital we respond to what young people are facing. We are calling on the Government to fund and give urgent support to local government to make it possible for councils to plan a summer holiday Local Offer for children eligible to FSM and other vulnerable children. 

“Local councils need advice and funding to decide how children and young people can get outside in supervised and safe situations this summer, given the ongoing importance of social distancing. Local councils are best placed to audit and co-ordinate what could work in their area, given local infection rates, and to devise a realistic plan so that children eligible for free school meals will have access to positive and healthy activities, so they are ready to learn in September. 

“We think this Local Offer would be hugely beneficial for families eligible for free school meals but could also be a lifeline for other families who face particular challenges, identified through local services. 

“To make safe summer schemes possible this August, and seek sufficient numbers of volunteers, we think local authorities need urgent specific additional funding from the Chancellor. It is in the Government’s gift to make this happen, and to ensure that those teachers, youth workers, supply staff, support staff and others who would volunteer to lend their expertise and make a Summer Holiday Local Offer possible can be paid appropriately. 

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“This builds on the union’s National Education Recovery Plan, published last week. The Government has been slow to put forward its own proposals. It is time for them to listen to the profession.” 

Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People said: 

“Councils and schools continue to do a fantastic job supporting children and young people in our communities. 

“We agree that councils must be fully funded and have local flexibility to deliver any scheme that aims to provide additional support and services to vulnerable children and young people over the summer. 

“Councils are ready to step up and innovate by using cultural facilities to provide space and resources to support learning efforts and physical activities over the summer when most schools will be closed. 

“It is vital that the Government urgently opens a dialogue with councils and schools to offer clarity for its proposals to help children catch-up on schoolwork they may have missed out on during lockdown, both during the summer and into the autumn, to ensure young people are helped to re-engage with all forms of learning from September.”

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