Senior Tory MP calls on PM to create catchup scheme for 'left behind' schoolkids

23 August 2020, 09:29 | Updated: 23 August 2020, 12:12

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

A Senior Tory MP has called on Boris Johnson to create a schools catchup programme for children left behind by Covid-19 closures.

Robert Halfon, also chair of the education select committee, claims the solution to getting kids to catch up is a long-term plan for education, and said he hopes the Prime Minister would do more than "a little announcement about spending" to solve the issue.

He told LBC: "How are we going to help these left behind children catch up? What are we going to do to get young people on the ladder of opportunity once again? How are we going to close our skills deficit?

"I don't just mean a little announcement about spending, which is important, but a serious plan for education over the next few years."

He warned that schools closures due to the pandemic have caused considerable damage to child development and wellbeing - as well as that of the parents.

Conservative MP Robert Halfon has called on Boris Johnson to create a scheme for left behind schoolkids
Conservative MP Robert Halfon has called on Boris Johnson to create a scheme for left behind schoolkids. Picture: LBC/PA Images

Mr Halfon added: "This is going to hurt children for many years to come - the studies show that every week a child doesn't learn it impact on their future life in quote a considerable way."

"It doesn't just affect the children's health and wellbeing, it affects the parents' health and wellbeing, their employment and the economy."

The Conservative MP argued that if children can go shopping and enjoy activities outside of school, then they should be able to return to classrooms in September.

"If it's okay for parents and children to go out and eat out in Nandos or visit Primark, it must be safe and minimal risk to go back to school, and this what has been confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO)."

It follows warnings from England's CMO Professor Chris Witty that while the risk to children of Covid-19 from returning to school was "not zero," the evidence that not going to school damages children in the long run was "overwhelming".