Tories’ education ‘tsar’ quits after schools offered just £50 per pupil per year

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THE TORIES’ Education Recovery Commissioner for England, Sir Kevan Collins quit last week after 6.7 million school children were starved of the funds they desperately need to catch up on their education that has been terminated by the pandemic.

During the height of the pandemic and the lockdown, PM Johnson waxed lyrical about how desperate he was to reopen the schools. He said at the time that ‘nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school’.

However, now even his own education ‘tsar’ has resigned over the lack of funding. Collins writing to Johnson on Wednesday said: ‘I do not believe it is credible that a successful recovery can be achieved with a programme of support of this size.’

The Education Policy Institute had calculated that a catch-up funding recovery would need £13.5bn – and Collins was reported as having put forward plans costing £15bn. However all the government would offer was just £1.4bn. Divide that up between the 6.7 million school children and it works out at just £50 per pupil per year!

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said: ‘You compare that with the USA which is putting £1,600 per head, per year, or the Netherlands, £2,500 per head. So what is it about those children in the Netherlands or the USA that makes them worth more than our government seems to say?’

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: ‘This is a comprehensive failure of government at a critical hour. Rarely has so much been promised and so little delivered. Where is the funding for drama and music, sport and skills development?’

Paul Whiteman, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, warned that the ‘education recovery cannot be done on the cheap’.

The reality is that this government couldn’t give a damn about children’s education. The only reason that Johnson was so keen to reopen the schools as soon as possible was to release their parents so that he could drive them back to work without any further delay.

This has been the strategic aim of this Tory government right from the beginning of the pandemic: Get the wheels of capitalism turning again no matter what the cost is to the working class. And the cost has been been horrific!

Over 127,000 have died from coronavirus which, with a UK population of 67 million, makes it one of the worst death tolls per capita in the world.

Over 1,000 health workers, nurses, doctors, and NHS staff have died after contracting coronavirus. Why were they so vulnerable? There was an acute shortage of gloves, aprons, gowns and masks. Bus drivers were also thrown to the wolves. It was only after dozens died that Transport for London moved to seal their cabs. As many as 65 bus drivers have died so far.

Over 20,000 elderly and disabled died in care homes – all because Johnson’s government turfed the elderly out of hospitals so as to be able to use their beds for younger patients.

The elderly, the disabled and public sector workers, in fact the entire working class, are seen as disposable. Now school students are also being dumped.

When the A-level students were downgraded in their exam results they took to the streets in their thousands, beating the government and forcing it to re-grade them on their predicted grade.

The same generation that cut its teeth in the A-level struggle has since been on the streets over the Black Lives Matter movement, against the ban on protests, and the new police powers. More than 250,000 mainly young people took to the streets demanding victory to Palestine.

School students will not tolerate being treated as disposable! There is now a revolutionary generation of youth emerging that has grown to rapidly hate this government, and its capitalist system and everything it stands for.

They will react massively to being treated as disposable by the bosses’ Tory government. They will lead the way and the teachers’ trade unions will follow their lead.

Youth must join the Young Socialists and set out to organise the British socialist revolution. They must encourage the teachers’ trade unions to put down a motion that the TUC General Council call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government and socialism. This is the only way forward.