Labour's Kate Green grilled over school catch-up plans
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The Labour Party has been criticised for its education plan after calling for teachers to spend more time on tutoring. BBC Breakfast host Sally Nugent quizzed Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green on the proposal, challenging the frontbencher on the cost of the plan. The discussion came after the Government announced an extra £1.4 billion investment in education to catch up on learning lost due to Covid.
Sally Nugent put the question to Ms Green: “How would a Labour government fund that?”
Kate Green said: “So the Government itself has quite rightly set itself a fund for Covid-related expenditure, so what we’re talking about is how do we use that money well?
“I would say investing in our children and young people and their futures must be the country’s top priority.”
Ms Nugent also asked about children being left behind in education over the course of the pandemic.
She asked: “How would you propose they catch up, and how would you measure that catch-up?”
“It’s absolutely right,” Ms Green responded. “Children have lost a lot of learning: 850 million school days have been lost in this pandemic.
“One of the most effective ways for children to catch up on learning that they’ve lost is through small group tutoring or one-to-one tutoring. The government has had some money available for that, it’s announced a bit more of it I think today, but it’s still only reaching one percent of children.
Ms Nugent followed up by asking “Ok who would do that tutoring? I’m imagining teachers at home with their heads in their hands thinking ‘at what hour of the day am I going to do that tutoring?’
Ms Green replied: “I absolutely understand. There may be some teachers, supply teachers or part-time teachers who would like to do it, but the teachers’ programme already is making use of other tutors too – university postgraduates for example.
“We are a bit concerned that we’ve got to make sure that those tutors are well-qualified, well-trained to give a really good quality experience to children and young people.
“We suggested training up teaching assistants, many of whom would like to develop a career in education anyway, but they could be a really good pool of potential tutors
“But the most important thing is to make sure children get really good quality tutoring.”
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Labour wants the Government to go further on its education plan and spend ten times more than they have set out.
Such a plan was reportedly under discussion within the government to spend over £10 billion but was rejected by the Treasury.
Labour’s recovery proposal also included provisions for mental health support for children and young people and breakfast clubs.
Education Secretary said that “The package will not just go a long way to boost children’s learning in the wake of the disruption caused by the pandemic but also help bring back down the attainment gap that we’ve been working to eradicate.”
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