The Liberal Democrats have called for the Government to speed up the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines over half term after new Department for Education figures reveal over 216,000 pupils are absent from school for Covid-related reasons.
The figures, released today (12:00pm), show infection rates in schools are rising at a concerning rate and this is having a huge impact on young people’s education - with 2.6% of pupils absent for covid-related reasons over the last two weeks.
Across the UK schools are grappling with soaring case numbers, which has seen institutions like Eton bring in a wave of new strict measures, including social distancing and cancelling events, to prevent an outbreak of cases.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for greater steps to be taken to protect our children’s education, including a £5bn Catch Up Voucher plan to directly support their learning.
Responding to these figures, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:
“We cannot allow our children’s futures to continue to suffer because of Conservative neglect. The Government must urgently ramp up vaccinations for 12 to 16 year olds over the half term holidays, to curb the spread within schools and prevent further disruption in the classroom.
“With teachers across the country facing rising absences from the classroom, it’s clear that the Conservatives have failed to get to grips with the difficult situation facing our schools and our children are being left to pay the price for it.
“Schools have been given the impossible task of keeping children in the classroom whilst also dealing with rising Covid rates. As a result, thousands of children are now missing out on vital learning yet again due to infections and parents will rightly feel abandoned by the Government.
“For too long the Conservatives have buried their heads in the sand and seemingly given up trying whilst our children’s education has suffered. They now need to show some real leadership to address this chaos and help our children catch up on lost learning before it’s too late.”