Free School Meals: Summer Holidays

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:56 pm on 16th June 2020.

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Photo of Rebecca Long-Bailey Rebecca Long-Bailey Shadow Secretary of State for Education 3:56 pm, 16th June 2020

The hon. Gentleman may have missed my first sentence on that point; I think that the Government need to have discussions with Ofqual to look at how changes can be managed properly. He is right that different schools take different modules at different times, and different exam boards have exams set out in different ways, but the challenge is not insurmountable. These discussions need to start now, not at the last minute. We have already lost too much time.

I would also like the Secretary of State to look at blended learning. We do not know how long this pandemic will last and we need to provide for adequate home and school learning. I want him to work with the sector to look at the support that pupils will need both in school and at home, and at how much face-to-face contact can be provided remotely and in person.

On digital provision, we know that free laptops have been promised to year 10s and selected children, but I want to see a guarantee that every single child can access their work online. Will the Secretary of State confirm today that—at the very least—he will start with a commitment to providing devices to all children eligible for free school meals if they do not have access to a digital device?