Many people, including me, will be sad but not surprised that Sir Kevan is standing down. The education recovery commissioner resigned in a row over the Government’s £1.4bn catch-up fund for children – just a tenth of the £15bn package that Sir Kevan proposed.
This pitiful offer of £1.4bn to support a generation of people who have lost months of learning was an insult to both him and to our young people.
The Government keeps talking about how ‘no child will be left behind’ and the importance of ‘levelling up’ – but yet, the amount of education catch-up funding announced amounts to just £310 per pupil over the next three years, compared with £1,600 in the United States and a whopping £2,500 in the Netherlands.
Education has to remain a top priority with a long-term focus if children have any chance recouping the time and opportunities they lost over the pandemic. But with the Gavin Williamson still in his post as education secretary that doesn’t look likely.
From a lack of guidance on online learning, to forgetting BTEC students, to last summer’s A-level grading fiasco, to failing to provide adequate free school meals over lockdown, and the delays to getting laptops to children who needed them, Williamson’s track record speaks for itself – which is to say, against him.
As Lib Dem spokesperson, I’m calling for him to step down now, for the sake of our young people, and their futures.