School closures would be 'catastrophic' for disadvantaged children

18 October 2020, 12:50 | Updated: 18 October 2020, 12:56

By Seán Hickey

The Children's Commissioner for England told LBC that if schools were to close again, it would disproportionately affect the worst off in society.

Anne Longfield told Tom Swarbrick "it would be catastrophic" if schools were to close for an extended period after the half term in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.

"Schools should be the first to open and the last to close," she argued.

Ms Longfield added that "kids are just back into their routine," after an extended period out of the classroom, and "to disrupt that now would have a huge impact on their wellbeing."

The Children's Commissioner worried that if calls to shut school gates were answered, it would "increase that divide in education between the poor kids and those that had more advantage during this time."

Anne Longfield hinted that the most vulnerable children would be irreversibly affected if schools were to close
Anne Longfield hinted that the most vulnerable children would be irreversibly affected if schools were to close. Picture: PA

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"Political consensus around schools is starting to fracture."

Ms Longfield argued that schools in fact don't need to close as a precaution, revealing that "what the scientists say is that actually schools are managing their safety very well."

"What's already in place is already mitigating many of the things a lockdown might mean," she concluded