Social unrest and violence will occur if kids not back in school, ex Ofsted chief warns
KIDS missing months of school due to the coronavirus crisis will lead to social unrest and even violence, the ex-chief of Ofsted warned today.
Sir Michael Wilshaw said that failure to make sure the poorest kids don’t fall behind could lead to disastrous consequences.
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Only kids in reception, year one and year six have been allowed to return to the classrooms since the coronavirus outbreak, but other years can come back if there’s space.
The Government had to abandon plans to get every primary school child back in for a month before the summer.
Sir Michael told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge programme earlier that if work is not done to help children catch up on missed education “there will be all sorts of problems in terms of social unrest”, possibly including “violence amongst young people”.
“A huge number of children – over 2 million children – are getting less than an hours’ work a day, and their online programmes are nowhere near adequate.
“And the consequences for youngsters, particularly those from poor backgrounds, the consequences for our society and for our education system, is going to be profound.”
And he lashed out at the lack of leadership from the Government, adding: “I don’t think it’s been led particularly well. Much of it has been inept and that must stop.
“Headteachers must have confidence in the leadership of the department. It’s a bit like a school. Schools succeed and fail on the basis of whether it’s got strong leadership.
“Headteachers have got to know who’s running things. Is it No 10 or is it the Department of Education?”
The PM has vowed that all kids will return to classrooms by September.
And they will likely be fined if they don’t send them in, he hinted
Boris Johnson said attendance will be made compulsory when classes return, warning: “It’s the law.”
At the moment parents are not being fined if they don’t send their kids in during the pandemic.
He told the Mail on Sunday: “We need to get the kids back into school. I want all pupils back in school by September.”
The PM warned teaching unions that have opposed reopening classrooms to “take their responsibilities seriously”.
He told them: “It’s the kids from the poorer families who aren’t going back, and so you are entrenching social injustice.”
It came as Tony Blair’s think tank urged the PM to make sure all pupils are tested for coronavirus at school when they return in September.
The Institute for Global Change found parents will be too scared to send their children back unless steps to “build confidence” are taken.
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It recommends an initial sampling period to understand what types of schools, age groups and where in the country schools may be designated “super-spreader settings”.
Most evidence suggests that young children do not develop serious coronavirus symptoms – but the evidence is mixed as to whether they can carry and spread it.
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