Monday 8 March 2021 / 11:32 AM Education / Kate Green / Keir Starmer

Labour calls for catch-up breakfast clubs to help children recover lost learning and social development

Labour is today [Monday] calling on the Government to introduce catch-up breakfast clubs, to help kids recover the time with friends and teachers lost during the pandemic.

 

Labour Leader Keir Starmer and Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green will launch a new ‘Bright Future

Taskforce’ on a visit to a school in Dagenham, East London. Labour’s new taskforce will deliver a long-term strategy for children’s recovery and ensure every child has the chance to fulfil their potential.

On the day schools reopen fully in England, new analysis from Labour shows that children have each lost an average of 109 face-to-face school days. The Government has failed to show the ambition needed to help children make-up this time with no mention of children in last week’s Budget and Ministers’ single-year catch-up plan amounting to just 43p a day per child over the next school year.

Labour is calling for breakfast clubs to help make-up for this lost time. Breakfast clubs will support children’s wellbeing with extra time to socialise, while also giving schools extra time to provide targeted tuition or catch up support. Evidence shows breakfast clubs can boost children’s educational attainment with positive impacts on reading and writing.

Under the Conservatives, progress in closing the attainment gap had stalled for five years, leaving disadvantaged pupils 18 months behind their peers when taking their GCSEs. Evidence suggests children in families that are struggling financially have fallen furthest behind their peers during national lockdowns.

Launching the Bright Future Taskforce will fulfil Keir Starmer’s pledge to establish a taskforce at Labour Connected in 2020, when he called for a national strategy to close the education gap at every stage in a child’s development.

 

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“The Government has treated our children as an afterthought throughout this pandemic and now they are being forgotten in our recovery.

“I am announcing our Bright Future Taskforce to ensure every child can recover from the impacts of the pandemic and every child is able to reach their potential.

“Labour wants to see our children’s recovery at the heart of efforts to rebuild our country so we can make Britain the best place to grow-up in.”

 

Kate Green MP, Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“The Government’s catch-up plans fall woefully short of the support needed to help children recover from the pandemic, condemning the life chances of a generation of young people.

“Ministers should listen to Labour’s call for breakfast clubs to give every child a healthy breakfast, more time to play with their friends and extra time for teachers to provide targeted catch-up support. The Government must be more ambitious for children’s recovery.”