Britain’s schools shut for longer than any European country bar one during pandemic

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BRITAIN’S schools were shut for longer than any European country bar one during the pandemic, research shows.

Children and university students spent 44 per cent of their intended study days away from class compared with 48 per cent in Italy.

Gavin Williamson said: ‘Keeping children in the classroom helps them catch up’
Britain’s schools were shut for longer than any European country bar Italy during the pandemic, research shows

Yet no time was missed in the period from January 2020 in Sweden and Finland, the House of Commons analysis found.

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said the research showed it was vital schools were not closed again due to Covid.

Government insiders hit back to say it was Labour that urged closures last year on the basis schools were Covid hotbeds.

It came as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson unveiled catch-up programmes to support six million pupils by 2024, including a “tutoring revolution”.

Experts say the school tutor-hire scheme could help kids win back five months’ lost schooling.

Mr Williamson said the extra protection jabs give will help find a balance between protecting staff and students.

He said: “Keeping children in the classroom helps them catch up.”

The Department for Education, meanwhile, said the tuition hours figures were misleading as education is devolved.

It said the government “led the way” across the countries of the UK in keeping schools open for vulnerable kids, and those of key workers, in the first lockdown.

A spokesman said: “The success of the vaccine programme means schools and colleges will deliver high-quality, face-to-face education to their pupils this year, with minimal disruption.”

He said the government had so far spent £3billion on a recovery plan “to make up for learning lost during the pandemic”.

However, spending per pupil is set to remain at its lowest in real terms since 2009-10, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Nuffield Foundation.

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