BAME children will 'fall behind' without intervention, warns Lord Woolley

1 September 2020, 14:26 | Updated: 1 September 2020, 16:06

By Seán Hickey

Lord Simon Woolley warned vulnerable children face "falling behind" unless the government intervenes to bridge the education gap.

Director of Operation Black Vote Lord Simon Woolley told Maajid, "The government needs a clear and unequivocal Covid-19 race equality strategy in three strands: education, employment and health"

The former Commissioner for Race on the Equality and Human Rights Commission went on to reveal that BAME children are "46% behind their learning curve [compared to] white students and those without disadvantage."

"We mustn't cross our fingers and hope they will catch up, we need a plan," Lord Woolley insisted.

Maajid shared figures which found that because of coronavirus the "education attainment level for private schools slipped 1% to this time last year but for state schools it's a whopping 50% slip."

"I can't tell you how frustrated I am," Lord Woolley said, "we need action on this."

Lord Simon Woolley confirmed that BAME students are being left behind in education as a result of Covid-19
Lord Simon Woolley confirmed that BAME students are being left behind in education as a result of Covid-19. Picture: PA

The Operation Black Vote chief added that addressing the issue is crucial. "It's about nurturing talent, this is about young people being able to fulfil their great potential."

He went on to remind Maajid that during the pandemic, digital capability has been the biggest factor in widening the education gap.

"Two million kids do not have digital access and of course, the posher kids in private school would have had all that - they would have had zoom meetings throughout all this time, and/or smaller classes.

"It is our kids that are falling behind, it is our talent we are wasting.

He concluded the conversation by telling listeners that "we need an action plan" to address the situation.

"Without that, we could be in a very very serious space."

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