Leader Scott Dickinson and Shadow Cabinet member Julie Foster
Leader Scott Dickinson and Shadow Cabinet member Julie Foster

Northumberland Labour Leader Scott Dickinson is supporting Labour’s two-year £14.7 billion recovery plan which sets out proposals to help children after months of disruption to their learning because of the Covid pandemic.

He said: “What we’ve seen this week is the resignation of the person the government put in charge of their education recovery programme, describing the government funding as ‘woefully inadequate’.

Labour has listened to parents, teachers and children to inform their plan which will deliver, not just a world-class education for all based on play and social development, but fulfilled and confident young people.

“In Northumberland we have seen our children, especially children who are already disadvantaged, suffer throughout this pandemic from loss of education, loss of social and sports activities and being able to mix with their friends.

“We’ve seen the lack of broadband and IT equipment hit the most disadvantaged the hardest. We’ve seen children and families thrown into poverty.

“We must match the ambition children have for their own futures and put them at the heart of our national recovery. This is an investment that our children’s futures and the future of our country depends on.”

“Our report says out of school activities and breakfast clubs should be expanded to boost time for children to play and socialise after months away from their friends. In contrast, the Conservatives are showing no ambition for children’s futures.”

Labour’s vision for the education recovery does not include any proposals to extend the school day or to shorten the summer holidays. It says ministers should invest in a new, two-year Education Recovery Premium to support pupils who have faced the greatest disruption.

Their report also says the fund should be targeted at children who would typically benefit from pupil premium funding – which is given to schools to support children eligible for free school meals – and those who should receive this help but do not because of their specific circumstances or phase of education.

Shadow Cabinet member for Children’s Services Julie Foster added: “After the disruption our children have gone through during the pandemic, we owe it to them to match their energy and motivation with the support and resources they need to thrive for their school careers and beyond.

“Labour’s plans deliver this, by funding activities to combine learning and play while investing in teachers and staff.

“We will be pressing the council leadership to ensure that Northumberland children are afforded the resources, opportunities and support they both need and deserve.”

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