Six precious months have already been lost. But it seems that if the unions had their way, we would wait six moreby Caroline Elsom / June 23, 2020 / Leave a comment
With sweltering temperatures set to hit the UK this week, the school summer holidays are fast approaching for families across the country. With very little “holidaying” likely to be allowed to take place, questions are rightly being asked about what can be done between now and September to salvage the school year.
By then, most students in England will have been away from school for six long, hot months, with only children of key workers having been allowed to attend throughout lockdown. For many students, this is six months of precious lost education that will severely set back their chances of achieving their potential. Four in 10 are not in regular contact with their teachers and just 2.5 hours per day on average is being spent on schoolwork. As the final weeks of the summer term draw in, there is still time to act to bridge the gap between now and the autumn, but the clock is ticking down fast.
At every stage, teaching union leaders who are looking increasingly out of step with the teachers they represent have sought to thwart the efforts of the government to get kids back in classrooms. Barely half of primaries opened to extra pupils (Years one and six) in the first week of June amidst a fierce union battle that saw 54 mostly Labour-run councils either directly telling schools not to open or leaving the decision up to individual headteachers. Frustratingly, this even included some councils in London where the infection rate had dropped dramatically after an earlier peak than elsewhere in the country.
Although most primary schools have now reopened to at least one of the planned age groups, only around a quarter of pupils from the years that should have gone back have actually been attending. Now the government has scrapped its aim to get all primary pupils back before the summer, we are faced with the stark reality that only around one in 10 primary age pupils have been into school at all since March and the rest are unlikely to go back at all now as the term draws to a close.
The picture is even worse for secondary students, with only two year groups having being told to return as of last week here too. A survey of headteachers by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) found…