Topical Questions

Part of Education – in the House of Commons on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Kate Green Kate Green Shadow Secretary of State for Education

Perhaps I could start by asking the Schools Minister a question, since he is here. The Secretary of State has repeatedly said that every child would return to school in September, and I support him in that ambition. Being safely back in school is best for children’s wellbeing and learning. Latest figures show that one in 10 pupils are out of school, as bubbles and year groups are forced to isolate whenever a child or a member of staff tests positive for covid. Worryingly, attendance at special schools is down at just over 80%, and some teachers report that parents are withdrawing their children altogether to home-school them.

We are not even at the start of winter, yet hundreds of thousands of children are already having their learning disrupted. We all agree that a functional test and trace system is crucial to keep teachers and children safely in schools. How many pupils and staff are currently waiting for a test result or are forced to isolate? Why have the Government not included school pupils on the list of priority groups for testing, as the schools Minister promised?