The decision by the Government to cut a proposed £10bn- £15bn a few days ago to £1.4bn yesterday for educational funds to assist Schools in raising the response from COVID-19 is deeply concerning. My conversations with a senior teacher indicated that they are very grateful for the £1.4bn but would have been very much happier if the sum had been a great deal higher as they were hoping for. It was evident from the piece on the radio yesterday morning however that Gavin Williamson was convinced it was a very significant sum. Sadly the way that the Government has handled matters along with their hard decision has led to the loss of Kevan Collins who has only been the schools catch-up tsar for the last four months. As Robert Halfon stated in twitter a few hours ago
To lose someone of the stature of Sir Kevan Collins is a real blow. Whilst today’s catch up money is hugely welcome, to repair damage of school closures, to improve attainment & outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, we need a properly resourced, radical long-term plan & funding
Sir Kevan Collins resigned yesterday warning the Government’s support package “falls far short of what is needed” to meet the scale of the challenge. This comes a few weeks after Boris Johnson stated at the end of March as part of a Downing Street Conference that Education is the “biggest priority” for the country in the wake the pandemic and he said it has been an “absolutely unimaginable year” for “everybody in education” and that the “loss of learning” is “the thing we’ve got to focus on now as a society”. “It’s been an absolutely unimaginable year for schoolchildren, for university students, for everybody in education,” “They’ve put up with incredible privations in order to help us – the whole country – get through and our future as a country depends on us now repaying that generation, making sure they get the education they need, so for me that’s the biggest priority.”
The way in which the information was disclosed to Kevan Collins is clearly one of the reasons he was forced to resign. However given the claims by Boris earlier this year and the claims in the manifesto one wonders if Gavin and Boris should both follow Kevan! Here are the comments in the Manifesto
We want to move on, with our programme of investment in education, infrastructure and technology, to create a high-wage, high-skill, low-tax economy.
Talent is evenly spread in this country, but opportunity is not. As Conservatives, we believe absolutely in equality of opportunity – the idea that every child, in every part of the country, should have a fair chance. It is not only the most important thing we can do to unleash the UK’s potential, but is at the heart of creating a fair and just society.
We have many strengths. We are a highly competitive economy with a strong education system and wellrespected regulatory framework.
In his statement, Sir Kevan said
A half-hearted approach risks failing hundreds of thousands of pupils.
The support announced by Government so far does not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge and is why I have no option but to resign from my post.
the package of support is too narrow, too small and will be delivered too slowly
not enough is being done to help children in the early years, or students aged 16 and over.