SIR Keir Starmer has blasted the “ridiculous” decision that betting shops can reopen but kids still aren’t going to school.
The Labour leader accused the Government of having a “blind spot” on reopenings after they admitted the plan for all primary school kids to return for a month before the summer holidays has been officially ditched.
Writing in The Telegraph, Sir Keir has now warned a “generation” of children risk losing on on vital months of education.
He said: “I do not underestimate how difficult it is to reopen schools safely in the current climate. But those difficulties were entirely foreseeable.
“It should have been obvious that serious effort was going to be needed to support children’s education during the pandemic.
“It is characteristic of this Government’s handling of the pandemic.
“Too slow into lockdown, too slow on testing, too slow to get protective equipment to our frontline workers and now too slow on getting a plan in place for children’s education.
“We now have the ridiculous situation where next week betting shops and theme parks will open, but parents are not clear when their children will go back to school.”
New figures from the Department of Education show only 52 per cent opened their doors to children from nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
The shocking numbers show just 659,000 children were at school last Thursday, 6.9 per cent of all pupils who normally attend.
However, it’s not yet known how many kids were eligible to attend last week in the first place.
A volunteer army of retired teachers could be deployed to help kids catch up, under plans being looked at by ministers.
Boris Johnson is considering the move after dropping his vow to get all primary pupils back to school before summer.
Mr Johnson said he was left with no choice because Covid infection rates are still too high.
But he vowed to create a massive “educational catch-up programme”, to be unveiled next week.
Today a senior MP claimed Britain needs “pop-up” schools in playgrounds, churches and empty offices to get kids back and stop the “disaster of a generation”.
Chair of the Commons Education Committee and Conservative MP Robert Halfon suggested using alternative venues to save kids facing months without an education.
He said: “I know that nationally the Government has been focusing on the economy and health.
“There must be a national plan from the Government, a bold vision of education.
“If we have nightingale hospitals around the country, which is a good thing, why on earth don’t we create Alan Turing schools?
“If the classrooms aren’t big enough why not open up church buildings, village halls, marquees in playgrounds to try and get every child educated.
“It may be that some schools can’t open, but that doesn’t mean no schools should open.”