Yet this has been the norm for Yorkshire, and large parts of the North, since the start of the new academic year back in September. The final decision on closures needs to rest with schools and public health directors.
And it is a credit to the logistical foresight of heads, LEAs and school providers that they have maintained so many lessons – and digital classes where needed. However they continue to do so in a spite of the Government which appears to remain in denial about the pandemic’s impact on education.
After last summer’s botched grading of exams, there’s still little confidence in the contingencies being put place for next year’s tests and even less in the leadership, and decision-making, of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
Both uninspiring and aloof, his additional help provided for schools to cover the cost of supply teachers and so on fails to recognise the extent to which the pandemic is compromising the future prospects of those children who were struggling academically before Covid struck. Not all children can count on a supportive family home computer to assist. School offers them stability – even a hot meal – and an opportunity to focus.
As such, The Yorkshire Post reiterates the concerns expressed by Robert Halfon, the chair of the Education Select Committee, when he warns that the attainment gap “between disadvantaged and better off pupils” has grown by 46 per cent and that a “long term plan for levelling up in education” is now required. Mr Halfon gets it. Teachers do as well. But what will it take for Mr Williamson to, first, recognise the issue’s importance and then act accordingly?
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