Concerns over impact of school closures for most disadvantaged pupils

Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Liberal Democrat and Opposition Leader Oldham Council, is concerned over the worrying slump in school performance in Oldham Borough.  Earlier this year before the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Department for Education has published school performance tables based on last summer’s GCSEs results (2019). 

The tables show that nine out of 16 Oldham schools were ‘below average’.  A further two schools were noted as being simply ‘average’ in their performance.  Councillor Sykes wants additional funding and says the way to get that help is not to mask the problems.  Pupils will now find it even harder to achieve academically and vocationally because of the outbreak of Covid-19 and the closure of schools.

“Many teachers and other staff in schools are going more than the extra mile to try and ensure students education continues via distance learning, stated Councillor Sykes.  “However, it is sad fact that despite these valiant efforts some of our most disadvantaged students will be the most impacted.”

Some schools are achieving only 30% to 45% of pupils achieving at least a pass grade in English or Maths. 

“Now more than ever we need to invest more in education.  We believe that early years support and education is key to having a good quality of life.” Said Councillor Sykes.  “Once schools, colleges and other educational establishments re open getting our students back on track needs to a very high priority.”

Councillor Sykes stated:  “The Council always congratulates themselves on yet another great year of results.  The problem is, Oldham Council forgets about the schools that are continually falling behind.  More than half of our schools are below the National average.  This will surely get worse now that the schools have closed.”

“To congratulate a step backwards is false.  Our schools don’t receive enough funding as it is.” 

“Our pupils are not in schools and colleges, this will be the case for weeks if not months.  Despite the best efforts of our local teaching staff to set up online classrooms, I am even more fearful that young people in Oldham Borough will be further disadvantaged by the Covid-19 crisis.”

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