Rich Taylor/ DFID
Rich Taylor/ DFID

Many children and young people suffered educational setbacks during the Covid crisis. Alongside this, their social development and physical, mental health have also been affected.

This has been compounded by the growing cost of living crisis. Many families are unable to afford early childcare and afterschool clubs. These activities help parents who work and they also boost children’s learning and development. When some children don’t have this provision, it further widens the gap between students, the poorest of whom have already suffered disproportionately.

Now, nationally, the average family is having to spend more on afterschool clubs than on their weekly food shop. This government has left parents to struggle with steeply rising prices, leaving children at risk of missing out.

Last night, I joined my Labour colleagues to push the government to match their own recovery plan which commits to breakfast and afterschool clubs for all, supporting parents struggling to balance rising bills and prioritising children’s learning.

No Tory MP supported Labour’s calls but they didn’t vote against our motion, so it went through unopposed. However, it’s not clear if the government will honour the vote.

Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan would deliver:

  • Breakfast clubs and afterschool activities for every child;
  • Small group tutoring for all who need it;
  • Quality mental health support for children in every school;
  • Continued professional development for teachers;
  • Targeted extra investment from early years to further education to support young people who struggled most with learning in lockdown;

The Welsh Labour government are already seeing the benefits of extending the school day. Their trials have demonstrated that children are undertaking a range of new activities at the end of the school day. Teachers in Wales have reported that this has given pupils more confidence in their day to day learning. There is much we can learn from them.

I promise to keep fighting for the dreams and ambitions of all our children.

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