School recovery money 'insulting', National Education Union's Wakefield branch secretary says
The government's "catch-up" funding package for school pupils has been branded "insulting" by a union organiser.
Sally Kincaid, the secretary of the National Education Union's Wakefield branch, said the cash being offered to boost classroom teaching post-pandemic was inadequate.
The government's education recovery chief, Sir Kevan Collins, resigned earlier this month, after saying the £1.4billion being offered "would not come close to" helping students recover their education.
The funding works out around £22 per head for primary schools, Sir Kevan said. He had asked the government for a total package of around £15bn.
The issue was discussed at a children and young people scrutiny meeting in Wakefield on Thursday.
Ms Kincaid said: “It’s been the hardest 18 months we’ve ever had and it needs to be recognised how hard teachers and staff have worked.
“I’ve got friends who are literally on their knees because they’re marking constantly and they’ve never worked so hard in their lives.
"The (recovery money) is insulting. I think in the US they're giving out about £1,600 per head and they're hardly known for their generosity."
Ms Kincaid was also critical of the government's approach to teaching since all pupils returned to schools earlier this year.
She said: "When the students came back they were really bubbly because they were so excited to be back, but they’ve now just had assessment after assessment after assessment and it’s not good for their mental health.
"They should be painting, drawing and playing music."
Andy Lancashire, the council's service director for inclusion said that one "positive" to come out of the funding package was that "schools are engaged" and knew where to go for the money.
Mr Lancashire also said that co-operation between academies and schools maintained by the local authority had been very strong during the pandemic.
He told the meeting: "Our teachers have been absolute heroes.
"Without them the NHS couldn’t have carried on because NHS workers’ children were being educated in school.
"In some parts of the debate I think that’s been forgotten. Schools were always open.
"The teachers are heroes and we tell them that frequently."
Local Democracy Reporting Service