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Government’s new education recovery plan funds not enough, teachers and Labour warn

National Education Union says the money will be insufficient in tackling educational inequalities and understaffing

TEACHERS and Labour said today that the government’s new education recovery plan lacks the funding required to tackle school understaffing and educational inequalities.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the £700 million education package aimed at supporting primary and secondary schools in England when they resume face-to-face teaching on March 8.

The funding, some of which had already been announced, includes a one-off £302m “recovery premium” to support pupils in state schools, a £200m budget for tutoring programmes and an additional £200m for summer schooling.

The government claims the money will repair the nine months of disruptive damage and lost school days that the prolonged coronavirus pandemic has had on children’s education.

But National Education Union joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said the money will be insufficient in tackling educational inequalities.

“What is badly needed is a broader redesign of education policy with proper investment over the next five years to address the education divide,” she said.

“The education recovery plan will need to tackle issues of poverty, racism and social exclusion honestly. It demands substantially more funding than that announced today.”

NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “Education recovery cannot be done on the cheap or at the expense of teachers and support staff in schools who are already working around the clock.

“The government must now commit to recruiting substantially more staff to provide an ambitious programme that will deliver the education recovery that all children and young people deserve.”

Last month the Sutton Trust’s Learning in Lockdown report recommended that schools receive £750m through a boost to the pupil premium for disadvantaged students — more than double the government’s £302 million.

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said the government had shown a “lack of ambition.”

“We need a transformation in support for children’s learning and wellbeing, but ministers are failing to give pupils, parents and staff the support they need,” she said.

“There is no specific mention of supporting children’s mental health or wellbeing, which is fundamental to enabling their recovery from this pandemic.

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak spent more on the failed Eat Out to Help Out Scheme than they will on our children’s recovery. This package amounts to just 43p per day for each child.”

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