- England has entered a third national lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Colleges, primary and secondary schools have closed to all but vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
- All other children will be required to learn remotely from home.
England has entered a third national lockdown and the Government has returned to its stay at home to control the virus messaging. All schools (reception onwards) and colleges have closed to all but vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Educational activities are being delivered remotely to all children who are distance learning. These measures are expected to stay in place until at least the February half term.
Luke Pollard MP’s statement:
I believe the closure of schools was necessary due to the widespread prevalence of COVID-19, particularly the new variant. With a majority of children in England forced into home learning, it is critical that the Government ensures that every child has access to a digital device. Ministers must ensure that every child has access to the devices they need to learn from home and that no data or internet restrictions price out disadvantaged families. I know many families in Plymouth are struggling to afford internet access and so I am writing with an update in case this might help your family or other families you may know:
Teaching being broadcast on BBC TV as well as online
I am pleased to see the BBC has stepped up and rolled out its biggest educational offer in its history to support children through home learning. From Monday, January 11, BBC Two, CBBC, BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and BBC online will ensure curriculum-based learning activities are available to all school children, even if they do not have access to the internet. You can read more here. This is proper public service broadcasting – well done BBC!
Help with mobile data costs
There are schemes to help families with data costs. New initiatives have also been launched by mobile networks in the past few days. Although this has not been as widely advertised as I would like there is help available. You can find more details about the “Get Help With Tech” scheme here from the Government website.
Help with laptops and devices
If your child needs access to a digital device and you do not have one, then you should contact your school to request a device. Schools in Plymouth have been working their socks off to get devices to families in need and more devices are coming to our city.
After much pressure the Government has confirmed that A-Levels, GCSEs and SATS have been cancelled and will be replaced with a form of teacher assessment. Details are being published. It is annoying that many young people studying for BTEC and city and guild qualifications have not had the same certainty and I hope they will soon. City College Plymouth have announced that all their vocational exams scheduled for this month have been cancelled and that was a difficult, but right decision.
You’re doing great!
This is a really difficult time for families and young people and you are doing great. Take time to remember that and please get in touch if I can be of any help.
We cannot go back to the confusion of the first lockdown, and it is important that the Government and employers promote the use of the job retention scheme for those who cannot work from home due to childcare commitments, and emphasise that this can be used on a flexible or part-time basis. Working parents face a huge challenge in balancing work, childcare and supporting their children’s education and nobody should have to choose between their job and supporting their children.
It is clear that greater clarity is still needed on just how the Government plans to support teaching staff, pupils and their families throughout the national lockdown. There are still very real concerns about which exams are expected to still go ahead and over what help is being offered to early years learning settings, which are remaining open. Please be assured that my colleagues and I are working hard to press the Government into publishing clear communications detailing its support plans on these issues and more.
If you are in need of any assistance, please get in touch with my office on 01752 717255 or email me on email@example.com.
If you would like to stay up to date with Luke’s activities and campaigns, you can subscribe to his monthly newsletter here.