Labour say decade of 'poor decisions' by ministers has let down children

2 April 2021, 22:29 | Updated: 3 April 2021, 10:48

Labour will claim that the Government's decade of "poor decisions" has "let down" children
Labour will claim that the Government's decade of "poor decisions" has "let down" children. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Labour's shadow education secretary will claim that the Government's decade of "poor decisions" has "let down" children.

Kate Green will call for ministers to prioritise the future of every child in a speech setting out Labour's vision for education.

Addressing the annual conference of the NASUWT teaching union, Ms Green is expected to hit out at the Government's record on child poverty.

Labour's shadow education secretary will say: "It wasn't just a pandemic, but a decade of poor decisions, built on a failing ideology, that let down our children."

The speech comes as Labour is set to reveal that some local areas could be losing out on more than £1 million in pupil premium funding to support pupils on free school meals to achieve their potential.

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Ms Green will claim that the decision shows that the Government is neglecting children in the recovery.

In a speech to the NASUWT virtual annual conference on Saturday, Ms Green will say Labour has established the Bright Future Taskforce to deliver "not just for children's recovery in the months ahead, but for the transformed education system we need for the decades ahead".

She will argue that "poverty wastes potential", damaging children's self-esteem, wellbeing and learning as well as harming "our country's success and prosperity".

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesman said: "Throughout the pandemic, the Government has prioritised children and young people, keeping schools open for vulnerable children and bringing all children back to the classroom as soon as possible, as we know being in school is best for their wellbeing and development.

"We have made sure schools have continued to accept new free school meal applications, providing meals to anyone who becomes newly eligible, including while pupils were learning remotely.

"Outside of term-time, we have expanded our Holiday Activities and Food Programme to every local authority across the country this year, and the Covid Winter Grant Scheme has also been extended over Easter, to further support vulnerable families.

"Our significant investment in education recovery now totals £1.7 billion, and pupil premium funding is increasing to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22, reflecting an increase in the number of eligible pupils."