Labour calls for focus on education recovery plan rather than One Britain One Nation Day

Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green has said the Government must prioritise putting “a proper plan” in place for children’s recovery rather than drawing attention to an education campaign which aims to instill pride in Britain.

It comes as this week leaders across the region accused the Governent of using the One Britain One Nation Day (OBON Day) - created by a former police officer - as a smokescreen for ‘shameful cuts to schools’ across the region, reported by The Yorkshire Post.

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The campaign, backed by the Government this week, is due to be celebrated in schools today, Friday, June 25, through the singing of a patriotic song.

This week leaders across Yorkshire and the Humber accused the Governent of using the One Britain One Nation Day (OBON Day) - created by a former police officer from Bradford- as a smokescreen for ‘shameful cuts to schools’ across the region. Photo credit: PA

It was launched by West Yorkshire-based former police inspector Kash Singh.

He said he set up the campaign in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 2013 after retiring from the police force in 2012.

Included in the campaign is a song, written by primary school pupils in the city, featuring the lyrics: "We are Britain and we have one dream - to unite all people in one great team."

The song finishes on the line of "Strong Britain, Great Nation."

Pictured, Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green. Photo credit: PA

Ms Green said: “Parents, teachers and pupils are concerned about children’s learning and social and emotional wellbeing post-Covid.

"They are concerned about rising numbers of children having to isolate away from school, and their children’s exam results this summer.

"Getting a proper plan in place for children’s recovery and ensuring every school is being supported to manage the impacts of Covid on their pupils, is Labour’s priority and should be the Education Secretary’s priority as well."

Meanwhile Bradford Council has warned the original campaign from Mr Singh is running the risk of countering the very aims that the West-Yorkshire founder set out.

Pictured, Bradford city centre. The OBON Day was launched by former police inspector Kash Singh.He said he set up the campaign in Bradford, West Yorkshire in after retiring from the police force in 2012. Photo credit: stock.adobe.com

A spokeswoman for Bradford Council, said: "We’re sure all of us would agree that the ambition of promoting respect and understanding for each other is important but this latest initiative is running the risk of countering the very aims that the Founder set out which we’re sure was not intended. ”

The spokeswoman added: "One Britain One Nation has been running in schools for several years.

"The initiative seems to have suddenly become more controversial this year and our first thought, as always, is with the children who are inadvertently at the centre of this.

"We’d ask that whatever comments people make, they think of these children first."

Mr Singh previously said the launch of the education campaign was “born from a dream as a police officer” after coming to the UK as a six-year-old boy who “couldn’t speak a word of English”.

He told Times Radio: “We started the concept in Bradford and West Yorkshire, and it’s been very, very successful indeed, so what we want to look at is taking it across the nation.

“It was something that was born from my dream as a police officer in terms of what I'd see, in terms of my passion, pride and frustration, and something that I feel needed to be done in this country.

"This country is a brilliant country. I came to this country as a six-year-old kid who couldn’t speak a word of English. My parents were labourers, they worked in a factory and foundry, and there are fantastic people in this country.”

The Department for Education confirmed to The Yorkshire Post it was encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate OBON Day on Friday, so that “children can learn about our shared values of kindness, pride and respect”.

A spokeswoman from the DfE, said: “Our schools should promote fundamental British values including tolerance and respect.

"As such, we support One Britain One Nation’s broad aims to help children learn about equality, kindness and pride, and it is for schools to decide how they teach these important values.”

The spokeswoman added the DfE has not asked people to sing songs or endorsed any specific materials for One Britain One Nation day.

OBON has previously promoted campaigns to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday in 2016, and the birth of Prince George in 2013.

To find out more about On Britain One Nation day, click here.

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