The long term impact of the pandemic on the education and attainment of young people is the thing that worries me the most. This is not to minimise the health and economic impacts that have been felt. But when I look at my own children I can see what they have lost. Compensating for this should be an absolute national priority.
In order to do this the Government appointed a respected educationalist, Sir Kevan Collins, to draw up a plan. He did so but has now resigned due to the Govt failing to back him, saying: ‘A half-hearted approach risks failing hundreds of thousands of pupils’. He is right.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies says the international breakdown of COVID ‘catch-up’ funding per pupil is as follows:
- US – £1,600
- Netherlands – £2,500
- UK – £50
The Government are already saying they can’t afford to do better. They’re wrong. Aside from the sheer scale of money they have wasted, failing to invest in catching up would be the greatest false economy of all and result in lower economic growth later. Growth is the only way to make our national finances sustainable.
Everyone – whatever your own politics and regardless of whether you have children yourself – should oppose this. The Government is making a serious and profound national mistake, and one that will have consequences for decades to come.
If you’re interested in what an alternative might look like you can read Labour’s plan by visiting https://bit.ly/3uTGnfG.