ENGLAND’S former chief inspector of schools has blasted the Government’s approach to schools and education as an “absolute tragedy”.
Sir Michael Wilshaw lashed out at ministers for failing kids who desperately need to return to school or face missing months of education which could set them back years.
It came after the Government said yesterday that kids wouldn’t go in for a month of school before the summer, but that zoos and theme parks would be able to open.
Sir Michael told Good Morning Britain: “I think it’s a mess, and it’s a shambles.
“What’s happened over the last few weeks and months has been an absolute tragedy.
“And it’s been a tragedy for those youngsters who need school, need the structure of school, need the routine of school, need teachers who will be working with them, to support them when they get very little support at home.”
He raged: “I just don’t know how we’ve made such a mess of it, because headteachers, and I know lots of headteachers, will have been saying to the Department for Education, you’ve got this wrong.
“If you’re going to insist on social distancing and a maximum of 15 in a class we will need double the amount of space, we will need double the amount of teachers and we’ve got to make sure we have that.
“There hasn’t been a plan up until now.”
Ministers haven’t yet come up with an answer of how to get more kids in the classrooms but still sticking to social distancing rules.
It came as:
- Furious parents lashed out as theme parks and zoos are set to open but schools may be shut until September
- Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has now accused ministers of “furloughing childhood”, while parents lined up to voice their anger at the plans
- A top MP warned 700,000 disadvantaged kids are NOT doing home work and don’t have access to computers
- New figures revealed pupils are more likely to be hit by lightning than die of coronavirus
Sir Michael told the BBC’s Radio 4 today that summer catch up classes were vital to make sure kids wouldn’t lose out – and urged the Department for Education to look at providing extra cash.
“Schools will have to put into place recovery programmes,” he said.
“Youngsters will have missed out on a whole terms education.”
He said it was “extraordinary” that the Government had made an announcement for all kids to go back for a month without figuring out how it was going to work.
“It smacks of poor organisation,” he said.
“The Government needs to get its act together on this one – learn from the mistakes that have already been made, and make sure there is adequate planning for September.”
He said that Government should be seriously looking at whether to ask kids to repeat a yar.
“They have one chance of a good education,” he stressed.
“They deserve the same sort of provision and quality that others have received in previous year groups.”
Today the Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisted the Government was making “good progress” on schools.
He said: “I personally think every day our children are not at school is a tragedy.
“It’s obviously going to have an impact on their futures.
“That’s why I’m so glad that as part of our measured and deliberate plan, we were able to reopen schools on 1 June for a number of pupils, especially our youngest children.
“We can’t do it all in one go, we have to take careful and measured and deliberate steps to do it, but that’s what we’re doing.”