Education Union: Government must 'repair the damage' caused by pandemic

Date published: 19 May 2021

Now that we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding the effects of Covid-19, Oldham National Education chiefs reckon it's time to start looking at how the sector can recover from the ravages of the pandemic.

This is particularly the case in Oldham, which the union insists has been disproportionately affected and has remained in some form of measures for almost the whole period since March, 2020.

Oldham NEU Joint Secretary Nigel Yeo said in a statement: "On Friday the Education Policy Institute, an organisation whose stated aim is “to raise standards in education through rigorous data analysis, research and the exchange of information and knowledge to help inform the public and hold government and decision-makers to account”, published a report on education recovery and resilience in England.

"The report highlights the scale of the disruption caused by the pandemic and estimates that funding of £13.5bn over three years will be necessary to repair the damage.

"School budgets have been hit hard by Coronavirus as schools have had to spend more on cleaning, heating, supply costs and other covid security measures, while important sources of income such as from lettings is down and the reimbursement from Government has been inadequate.

"But it is worse than that.

"The investment proposed by the EPI is to repair the damage caused by the pandemic.

"This does not address the issue that schools have been facing financial difficulties for years.

"Before the pandemic more than a quarter of maintained secondary schools were in deficit and class sizes had risen sharply.

"In January 2020, a million children were being taught in classes of more than 30.

"Taken in this light the Government’s response to education recovery falls way short of the mark.

"Education is a priority and the Government needs to recognise that.

"It needs to invest properly in education to enable children and young people to recover.

"So far it has set aside only the equivalent of £250 per pupil, which compares poorly with other nations such as the Netherlands which is investing £2,500 per pupil and the United States £1,600 per pupil.

"Another way the Government is looking to help balance the books is by imposing a public sector pay freeze in September, effectively punishing teachers and support staff who have all gone the extra mile during the pandemic.

"This is not the answer.

"The solution to the pandemic cannot be yet more austerity.

"Boris Johnson’s stated aim is to “level up”.

"He can start with Oldham."

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