MP calls for £300 million package for disadvantaged students

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has signed a letter to the Secretary of State for Education calling for support for disadvantaged students during the coronavirus pandemic.

He joined fellow MPs from the North of England in signing the letter which calls for funding to ensure disadvantaged students get tutoring sessions and are able to access resources online.

The letter states: “The national effort to protect our NHS by staying at home has been necessary, but has meant keeping children away from their teachers and schools. The most disadvantaged children fall behind their peers over a long summer holiday, and the shutdown will widen the North’s disadvantage gap, and with it the North-South education divide. We need to deal with the consequences of this crisis for the most vulnerable in our society, and that must include children from low-income households.”

Mr Menzies said: “The Coronavirus pandemic means staying at home has been necessary, but has meant keeping children away from their teachers and schools. The most disadvantaged children fall behind their peers over a long summer holiday, and the shutdown could widen the North’s disadvantage gap. We need to deal with the consequences of this crisis for the most vulnerable in our society, and that must include children from low-income households.”

Research from Education DataLab for the Northern Powerhouse Partnership showed two-thirds of secondary schools teaching concentrations of long-term disadvantaged pupils in the country which make the slowest educational progress are in the North.

Mr Menzies added: “We’ve asked for a catch-up premium of at least £300 million across England for secondary schools alone, equating to some £700 per student on free school meals.

“It would fund three to five sessions of tuition per week for six to 12 weeks.”