Schools White Paper: Half-baked proposals miss the mark

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Schools White Paper as “half-baked” as it launches today, saying they have “no ambition or imagination”.

The Party has moved to criticise the proposals after they focused on restructures and the National Tutoring Programme rather than diverting more funding towards catch-up for children who have been hit hard by lost learning during the pandemic or helping children to build their skills and experiences.

Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP has said the proposals “completely miss the mark” and do not come close to righting the “wrongs” of the Department for Education over the course of the pandemic, such as botched school reopenings and a failure to get laptops to children who needed them.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for an extra £10 billion to go towards catch-up funding as was recommended by the Government’s own former education recovery chief Kevan Collins. This would include £5 billion to be put directly into the hands of parents as a catch-up voucher for every child.

Responding to the launch of the Schools White Paper, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said: “It’s been six years since the last Schools White Paper yet clearly these half-baked plans needed even longer in the oven. Now we have it in black and white that the Conservatives have no ambition or imagination for our children and their education.

Munira Wilson

“Parents and children continue to struggle faced with teacher absences, while schools don’t have the resources to help pupils catch-up because the Government has only coughed up a third of the funding their own catch-up adviser said was desperately needed.

“These proposals completely miss the mark and this fanciful obsession with restructures, hollow targets and the National Tutoring Programme are a case in point. Children need more catch-up funding, not more upheaval.

“Wellbeing should have been at the heart of this White Paper. The Government has failed with all hands in that regard. Their plans come nowhere close to giving our children the opportunities and experiences they deserve after the wrongs the Department for Education did by them, their parents and their teachers during the pandemic.”

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