Labour councillors call on MP to secure extra support for local children

Labour councillors have written to Crewe and Nantwich MP, Dr Kieran Mullan asking him to lobby the government for extra support for children who are homeschooling.

It is estimated that up to 1.8 million children do not have access to a laptop at home based on figures from Ofcom.

The government has previously promised to make 1 million laptops available to children, however, as of December 18th, only 500,000 had been delivered according to data published by the Department for Education.

The letter comes after schools have been closed again as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Sally Handley, who represents the St Barnabas ward, said:

Cllr Sally Handley

The effort from teachers to turn around face-to-face lesson plans to virtual teaching in a matter of hours was a humbling testament to the hard work, dedication and care they show our children. However, unfortunately, many families do not have the required number of devices for their children to be able to join these lessons from the safety of their homes – with some families having none.

Some of the 1.8million children who are going without access live in our community in Crewe and Nantwich. Therefore, we are asking the MP to lobby the Education Secretary to do whatever is necessary to resolve this quickly, enabling all children to have access to the hardware and connectivity required to safely continue their education from home.

We therefore call on you to lobby the Education Secretary to work more creatively on this issue and do whatever is required to fix this problem.

The letter sent to the MP can be seen in full below.

Letter-to-Kieran-Mullan-Home-Learning

Connor Naismith, Labour Party candidate for the upcoming Crewe West by-election said:

I have written to all primary schools in Crewe West to offer my support in this turbulent time and ask for information about the gap in the provision of home learning equipment within their school community. We need our elected representatives in Westminster to be asking questions of the

Government about the shortfall of devices and connectivity, therefore it is necessary for the MP to be vocal on the issue and not remain silent. It was right for schools to be closed for most children to halt the steep increase of transmission of Covid for children, teachers and staff alike. We cannot allow the postcode lottery mentioned in our letter to become a reality. Action is needed and needed urgently.

This week, Education Secreatry Gavin Williamson speaking in the House of Commons said that children without access to a laptop would now be classed as vulnerable meaning they could attended school.

in repsonse to this the letter says:

The Education Secretary’s suggestion that children without access to the internet will be classed as vulnerable and placed back into schools is simply not good enough.

This will create a postcode lottery of Covid-19 transmission in our schools – with areas of higher deprivation facing increased mixing in schools and therefore higher rates of transmission.

Earlier this week several mobile phone companies joined a government scheme allowing access to free data for those in need.

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