700,000 disadvantaged kids are NOT doing home work and don’t have access to computers, top MP warns


700,000 DISADVANTAGED kids are not doing school work and home and don’t have access to computers or the internet, a top MP has warned.

Yesterday ministers announced that primary schools wouldn’t go back for a month of vital education before the summer, despite kids having stayed home for more than ten weeks already.

School in Staffordshire teaching class outside
There are fears for kids’ education as millions stay at home

Parents and MPs are furious that pubs, restaurants, theme parks and zoos are set to reopen in the coming weeks, but still millions of children won’t be getting to learn.

Children have started to go back to school across the world following the coronavirus outbreak, but Britain’s cautious approach is seeing most still learning from home.

Robert Halfon, chairman of the education select committee, told the Commons yesterday that about 700,000 disadvantaged children were not doing home work and did not have proper access to the tools they needed to learn.

He asked Gavin Williamson, the education secretary: “Why is that we can turn a blind eye to thousands of demonstrators and campaign for pubs and garden centres to reopen yet it is so hard to reopen our schools?”

In an op-ed for HOAR, Mr Halfon wrote: “55 per cent of teachers in the most deprived areas suggest that their children are learning for less than one hour a day.

“So, for all the impressive Oak Academy learning initiatives and ed tech, we are not reaching those that need support the most.

“Unless we reopen schools soon, we risk damaging the life chances of thousands of children.”

It came as:

  • Fresh research showed that children under the age of 15 have a one-in-3.5 million chance of dying from coronavirus.
  • Former schools chief Sir Michael Wilshaw branded the Government’s approach to education an “absolute tragedy”
  • Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield accused the Government of prioritising the reopening of pubs over the education of Britain’s kids.

Analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics by scientists from the University of Cambridge shows that the coronavirus risk to children is extremely low.

Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has accused the Government of prioritising the reopening of pubs over the education of Britain’s kids.

Ms Longfield warned children will end up with huge gaps in their education and have been “forgotten”, as ministers dumped plans to get all primary school kids back in class before the holidays.

There are serious worries for kids’ life chances as the gap between the rich and poorer children continues to grow thanks to lockdown.

Reception, year one and six started to go back last week, but just half of schools opened to welcome them.

Only one in four children who were eligible to return came back, it was estimated.

Millions of others aren’t set to go back until at least September, now.

The strict rules mean many schools simply don’t have the space to bring more kids back to classrooms, and ministers have failed to provide an alternative.

Online education and classes differs from school to school – with no one set of rules that all kids should be trying to follow.

Many in private schools are getting daily learning online, but those in state schools are feared to be falling behind as they don’t have the same access.

And frustrated parents can’t return to work as they don’t have the ability to put their children back in school – or face the situation of having some in class and others not.


Government sources said that they couldn’t even guarantee that all kids would be back by September, only that they wanted to open them up to more pupils.

Schools have gone back in bubbles of 15 kids – and have to stay away from other classes.

Children are being told to wash their hands more often and sit apart from others too.

Children use hoops for social distancing at L’Ecole Des Petits school
Most children have been eager to get back to school, but some worried parents have kept them home

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