Children’s Commissioner for England warns education system at risk of being “in turmoil” for years to come.
Anne Longfield fears that unless the Government invests in levelling up education across the country, Yorkshire’s education system is in danger of being left in turmoil for many years in the wave of the pandemic.
The Commissioner, who steps down after six years at the end of the month, has urged Ministers to plough millions into schooling in the North of England to tackle regional disparities.
In an interview with the Yorkshire Post, she outlined the crippling impact the health crisis has had on education, pointing out children have spent a tiny percentage of the last 12 months in a classroom due to Covid restrictions and lockdowns.
Yorkshire-born Longfield told the publication that educational outcomes in Yorkshire were far below those of London and the South-East prior to Covid, “but now there is a real risk those regional differences will be heightened even further”.
“Covid-19 has had a profound impact on the whole of society, but without the necessary intervention from the Government to rocket-boost the North of England’s education system, the effects will be felt for years to come,” she said.
In local education authority areas in Yorkshire and the Humber, between 35 and 45 per cent of pupils receiving free school meals are achieving the top six grades at GCSE, compared to 60 per cent in London, she explained.
A spokesman for the Department for Education stressed Ministers are investing millions of pounds to improve opportunities for children across the country.
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