Our children deserve better - ministers must learn from their mistakes

Manor School is in Kensal Rise (Pic credit: Google Streetview)

Tulip Siddiq spoke to 75 head teachers from special schools including Manor School, about challenges children with special needs and disabilities are facing in lockdown - Credit: Google

This lockdown has been incredibly tough for teachers, who are having to balance delivering remote learning with supporting those vulnerable and key worker children who are still in school. Not to mention all the work they are doing to ensure children continue to get welfare and other support.

All school staff are working tirelessly to deliver for their children in the most difficult of circumstances, but none more so than those in special schools. They have effectively been asked to stay open to all pupils but not given the resources to do so effectively at a time when many staff are sick or self-isolating.

MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq

Tulip Siddiq says children have been let down during Lockdown - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to over 75 headteachers from special schools and alternative provision, including Swiss Cottage special school and Manor School in Brent. It was moving to hear about some of the profound challenges that children with special educational needs and disabilities are facing in lockdown.

It is staggering that nearly a year into the pandemic, many children who are being expected to learn remotely still do not have the digital equipment they need. And, in this half term week, many children will be missing out on free school meals because the government failed to guarantee them over this holiday.

Our children deserve so much better. We have been calling on ministers to learn from their mistakes, prioritise the needs of children and get all school staff vaccinated.

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  • Tulip Siddiq is MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.

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