I remain hugely concerned about the impact on children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, of a loss of face-to-face teaching. In Hackney we had seen the gap in attainment narrowing significantly; the pandemic is reversing this progress. Students who study practical and artistic subjects at school are also particularly disadvantaged when forced to learn from home.
I pressed the Minister for Schools to lay out concrete proposals for a proper catch-up programme of learning, perhaps even summer lessons for those going into exam years, so that no student is left behind. See the video above.
I am also working with colleagues to press the Government for a clear plan for the full physical reopening of schools - including prioritising teachers and other school staff for early vaccines once the most vulnerable groups have been vaccinated. I am also pressing for a much more joined-up approach to online teaching and ensuring all students have access to technology and wifi/data. I have resisted the closure of schools but a national lockdown makes this necessary.