Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan Offers Somerset Schools £73million

Friday, 17 September 2021
Cllr Mick Lerry Labour – a teacher speaks out

Labour councillors have welcomed  the party’s Childrens Recovery Plan and say it will substantially benefit teachers. Bridgwater Town Councillor and former Teacher Mick  Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) says  “In Somerset Labour wants to shape the future of education for the benefit of teachers, support staff, leaders and pupils. There is a crisis in education, due to the past 10 years of school funding cuts and Covid. Workload is at a record high and the assessment and accountability system is broken. Add to this eight years of barely rising pay and it is no wonder there is a recruitment and retention crisis in our schools. This country’s over-reliance on a rigid, one size fits all exam system, and government’s continued insistence on defunding BTECs and CAMTECs, in defiance of all expert opinion and evidence, is unsustainable and doesn’t meet the various challenges facing young people, our society and our economy in the 21st century. The assessment system needs to change, and the teaching profession is brim full of experts who understand the lessons we can learn from the pandemic. Labour will work with teachers and school staff to build a new, fairer and more robust assessment and qualification system. The high-stakes testing system in primary schools is not fit for purpose. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted even further the flaws in this system. After two years in which SATs and other formal tests have been cancelled. Schools should not return to the previous system of primary tests. At the moment the Conservative government, with a new Secretary of State for Education, are not prepared to meet the challenge, but Labour is.”

Labour is calling for schools in Somerset to receive an additional £73million to help children recover from two dreadful Covid affected years. The additional money would include:
➢ £1.068m to boost Primary school pupil premium
➢ £2.385m to support additional teacher training

Under Labour’s plan, the schools would receive additional funding for:
• Breakfast clubs and new activities for every child: boost time for children to play and socialise after months away from their friends by enabling schools to offer an expanded range of extracurricular activities, from breakfast clubs to sport and drama, book clubs and debating societies;
• Quality mental health support in every school: give every child the support they need to transition back to school and manage personal challenges, with access to qualified in-school counselling staff alongside boosting wellbeing through extra activities;
• Small group tutoring for all who need it: make small group teaching available to all children who need it not just 2%, by reforming the Government’s failing tutoring programme to no child falls behind because of pandemic disruption;
• Continued development for teachers: Teachers and school staff have had one of the toughest years of their careers – it is only by supporting them with training to stay on top of the latest knowledge and techniques that we can give every child a brilliant classroom experience;
• Invest in an Education Recovery Premium: support every child to reach their potential by investing in children who have faced the greatest disruption during the pandemic from early years to further education, and double the Pupil Premium for children in key transition years, delivering additional support for children who need it most;

redman
County Labour Leader Leigh Redman

The proposals are in line with the recommendations made by the Government’s own Covid recovery adviser Kevan Collins, rejected by the Conservatives in favour of a scheme which has seen just 2% of children offered catch-up tutoring.

Cllr Leigh Redman,(Bridgwater South) leader of the Labour group on Somerset County Council said, “Children in Somerset need all the support they can get to bring their education back on track after two dreadful years of chaos and disruption. Labour is calling for schools in Somerset to receive £73million in additional funding to provide everything from breakfast clubs and mental health support, this will help to catch up tutoring and free school meals for those most in need. Labour has a serious plan to help children in Somerset catch up – this government isn’t serious about anything.”