Tuesday 20 July 2021 / 1:27 PM Education / Kate Green

Labour slams Conservatives’ inaction to keep children learning as new data shows over a million children are missing school

Labour is today accusing the Conservatives of ‘abandoning the nation’s children’, as latest attendance data shows that over a million children were out of school last week due to Covid-19 infection or self-isolation.

Alongside the latest data, Labour research has found that the Government has provided no specific funding to improve ventilation in classrooms despite SAGE advice to do so in May 2020.

In answer to written parliamentary questions the Department for Education has confirmed that they have ‘’not provided specific additional funding for schools to improve classroom ventilation since January 2021’’, and that they are only now working on a pilot scheme to measure the adequacy of ventilation in classrooms.

This is despite SAGE advising on 21st May 2020 – 425 days ago – that ‘’opening schools…safely would require a significant effort to ensure that environments are appropriate to minimise transmission (for example distancing and hygiene measures, ventilation). Systems to evaluate this, and, potentially, enforcements mechanisms will be required’’.

As the number of children out of school has rocketed week on week, Labour has been calling on the Government to take urgent action to keep children learning, including on measures such as face masks and ventilation, and deliver a proper education recovery plan to ensure all children can achieve their potential as we emerge from the pandemic.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“The Conservatives have abandoned the nation’s children with no action taken to turn the tide on rising cases in schools.

“Parents and schools have been crying out for help, but the Conservatives have washed their hands of their responsibility to keep children learning.

“The Government must take action to keep children learning for the last week of term, and ensure that by September schools have the support they need to avoid further disruption to children’s education.’’