Poorest will be left behind if schools don't re-open, warns Children's Commissioner

24 August 2020, 08:14

By Adrian Sherling

Children need to go back to school next week or the poorest children face being left behind, the Children's Commissioner told LBC.

Boris Johnson has made a plea to convince concerned parents it is right to send their children back to schools when they reopen next week.

His comments follow a statement made by the UK’s chief medical officers that “very few, if any” pupils would come to long-term harm from the virus by going to school, while there was a “certainty” of harm from not going back to class.

Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield is in charge of representing the country's children and she told Nick Ferrari that the poorest children have had the hardest time while schools were closed.

She said: "It's over five months since many were at school. For children that means that not only have they missed out on their time with friends, but they've missed out on the routine of school in their lives.

"And for some children who have very fragile home environments, they've missed out on those other adults in their lives that sometimes has allowed them to share confidence and ask for help.

Nick Ferrari spoke to Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield
Nick Ferrari spoke to Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield. Picture: LBC

"In educational terms, children have had different experiences. Some will have had zoom lessons from dawn til dusk, often in more affluent communities. They often have large gardens, large houses and quite a lot of sunshine.

"But lots of other kids will have been in very cramped conditions, some even in B&Bs and sofa-surfing. They would have had no access to outdoor space, there would have been tension at home.

"So we know lockdown has been a very different experience for children."

Watch her interview at the top of the page.