View from the street - Our children could suffer permanently after Covid

Zaffar Van Kalwala is worried about the long-term effects Covd could have on children.

Zaffar Van Kalwala is worried about the long-term effects Covd could have on children. - Credit: Archant

Back to school after the summer holidays meant having a new Woolworths pencil case and getting ready to play for my school football team!

However, returning to school will be very different for Brent’s 48,000 pupils. It will have been six months since they last attended.

Teachers face a huge challenge of balancing Covid-19 safety with children’s learning, social and emotional needs.

Parents and pupils struggled after schools shutdown, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. A Teacher Tapp survey estimates 10 per cent of children have no internet access. And Institute for Fiscal Studies’ researchers found children from affluent families were spending over 75 minutes more on learning than poorer households.

Sadly, Brent children may suffer permanently from the impact of coronavirus. McKinsey & Co estimates pupils could lose up to £62,000 in lifetime earnings because of Covid-19 related learning losses.

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Children’s education should be made a priority. The government failed young people with their exam results algorithm. They are failing them again by giving schools just £85 extra per pupil.

More funding is needed for more teachers and classroom assistants as well as personalised ‘catch-up’ programmes and extra resources for pupils taking A-levels and GCSEs. Mobile Learning Zones should be set up to boost learning and deal with issues such as mental health.

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Malcolm X said ‘education is our passport to the future’. Let’s make sure all Brent children are on the right journey to a better future.

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