The Guardian view on schools: ministers have failed England’s children | Editorial

Education should have been a top lockdown priority. But three months in, there is still no credible plan

The government has admitted that it cannot deliver what had been promised: England’s 17,000 primary schools will not, after all, be inviting all their pupils back before the summer. In a way, it’s a relief to have it out in the open. With just 25% of reception, year 1 and year 6 children back in classrooms last week, it was obvious that the plan promoted by ministers for months was detached from reality. But this does not in any way soften the blow to their credibility. Ever since March’s delayed lockdown, planning for the pandemic’s impact on children has been poor. There is so sign whatever that the position has improved.

In a statement on Tuesday, Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, tried to insist that normality would resume in September instead. All that has been lost, in other words, is a few more weeks. If that were true, or even likely, ministers would still have an enormous amount of explaining to do. By then, the vast majority of England’s 8.8 million school-age children will not have spent a day in a classroom, or with a teacher, for almost six months. A plan to roll out the technology needed by pupils to access remote learning has been subject to the kinds of delay and obfuscation that have characterised every aspect of the coronavirus response. And while ministers have announced the withdrawal of children’s meal vouchers in July, they have yet to present a plan to make up for the lost months.

Continue reading… Source: The Guardian: The Guardian view on schools: ministers have failed England’s children | Editorial ———