Coalition calls for rethink of recovery plans
By Rachel Lawler
A coalition of education organisations, charities, unions and business leaders have called on the government to “reconsider” its approach to the pandemic recovery and increase its investment in children.
Signed by more than 140 leaders from across the education sector – including the Alliance – the letter urges the government to investment more in their recovery programme, after the Treasury committed to spending £1.5 billion.
The funds committed so far fall far short of the £13.5 billion that the EPI suggested was necessary, with much of the funding dedicated to a tutoring programme for schools.
Holistic recovery plans
The coalition, coordinated by Fair Education Alliance and the National Children’s Bureau, said that while the investment announced so far is “welcome” it is “not nearly enough” to support holistic recovery plans for children and young people.
It also warned that there was already “significant” inequality between poorer children and their wealthier peers before the pandemic and that this has only be exacerbated by Covid-19. This, the coalition argues, should be taken into account as well as the impact of the lockdowns.
The coalition has called for additional funding to help counteract the wider impact of the pandemic on rising child poverty, waiting times for mental health support and services protecting children from abuse and neglect.
Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, commented: “The pandemic has affected every single child in the country, causing untold disruption to their education, development and welfare. Children with disabilities, those suffering from trauma, and the millions living in poverty have been hit the hardest. Yet the money promised to help their recovery falls far short and sends the message to struggling families that they simply aren’t a priority for the government.
“As well as making up lost ground in education, we have to fight for a better deal for our children, one that protects their mental health, secures them adequate support services, and overcomes the devastating effects of poverty. The breadth of organisations calling for government to realise this is too wide-reaching to ignore.”