'It's appalling' - Hartlepool headteacher slams reduced post-Covid education budget
Councillors are to write to the Government over concerns around the lack of funding they feel is being provided to post-Covid education recovery plans.
It came after Hartlepool Council officers provided an update on the work of the new national Education Recovery Team.
The team was created earlier this year to develop post-Covid education recovery plans with a national focus supporting children and young people most impacted by the pandemic.
Calls for an initial £15 billion budget, however, were reduced to £1.4 billion at the start of June.
Councillors and teachers discussed the figure at the latest meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council’s children’s services committee.
Mark Tilling, the headteacher at High Tunstall College of Science, described the £1.4 billion figure as a “drop in the ocean”.
He said: “It’s appalling, I think all trade unions, professional bodies, teachers and everybody have said the same thing.
“We’re already supporting mental health, counselling, we’ve got young people who have not returned to education yet because of anxieties and the emotional health and wellbeing, that’s across the town.
“I think there are a lot of issues that are going to come out in years to come.”
Cllr Brenda Harrison called on the committee to write to the Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson over the funding concerns.
She added that she had heard of a secondary school in the town requesting funds for 12 extra tutors and receiving money for only two.
She said: “We as a committee should actually address and perhaps even write to the Secretary of State to say this is not going to be good enough to do the recovery that’s needed.”
Cllr Jim Lindridge, chair of the committee, also backed the move, saying more funding is needed and adding: “We are in a deprived area and we’re punching above our weight anyway.”
Councillors were also told Sir Kevan Collins had stood down as Education Recovery Commissioner following the £1.4 billion announcement.
Officers said this happened as he did not believe it was “credible that a successful recovery can be achieved with the proposed programme of support and associated funding”.
The funding is to go towards initiatives such as teacher training opportunities, supporting staff, and further tuition and tutoring.