A damning report says Covid school closures were a ‘national disaster’ in England. We need action to prevent a lost generation
It was meant to be over by now, but the pandemic does not appear to be following the script.
Covid has swept through schools once again in the past few weeks, with teachers going off sick again and desks emptying fast. The new extra-infectious variant of Omicron comes at just the wrong time for children who have already missed out on so much over the past two years and in England now face Sats, GCSEs or A-levels this spring. A report from the Commons education select committee, whose Tory chair, Robert Halfon, has doggedly worried away at this issue for two years, recently concluded that school closures in England had been “nothing short of a national disaster for children and young people”, with pupils in the most deprived areas up to eight months behind in some subjects and the government’s “catch-up” national tutoring programme (NTP) failing to deliver in precisely the places that need it most.
Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist
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