Sir Kevan’s key arguments were this. Children, and especially Year Seven students switching to secondary school, need help now if they’re struggling with key skills if they’re not to fall further behind with their studies and put their futures at greater risk.
His £15bn catch-up plan was appraised by Department for Education statisticians who calculated that a failure to act now would cost the economy £100bn in the longer term; that his proposals were presented to Mr Sunak, Boris Johnson and Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, and he’s also none the wiser about the metrics used by the Chancellor’s team to assess his blueprint.
All issues highlighted by The Yorkshire Post, Sir Kevan called out the Government for failing to signal that education is “a national endeavour” as he questioned the scope of the extra £1.4bn – one tenth of the funding he sought being made available for tutoring – while stressing the urgency of the need for full plans need to be put in place in time for the new academic year in September rather than after the spending review in the autumn.
As he called for funding streams to be simplified and funnelled through a revamped Pupil Premium in order to reach those with the greatest learning needs, education, he stressed, was too important to be left at the mercy of Whitehall processes at this time. And he was right to do so. Young people are the pandemic’s forgotten victims. Just because the vast majority have, mercifully, escaped serious illness must not detract from the impact of a disrupted education and the loss of other opportunities vital to their personal development. They’re the people who now deserve an explanation from Mr Sunak.
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