Northampton councillors call for more schoolchildren support as many continue to miss classes due to Covid-19 isolation rules

'I am seriously worried about the impacts of Covid-19 on our children - they have had a really bad time'

By Jack Duggan
Friday, 2nd July 2021, 5:02 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 5:05 pm

Northampton councillors are calling for more support for schoolchildren being forced to still miss classes because of the coronavirus isolation system.

After 12 months of on-and-off home-schooling, many pupils are still having to stay at home due to NHS Test and Trace with Covid-19 cases rising in Northamptonshire schools.

West Northamptonshire councillor for Castle ward, Jamal Alwahabi, said: “I am very concerned about how many children are out of school at the moment.

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West Northamptonshire councillors for Castle ward Enam Haque (left), Danielle Stone and Jamal Alwahabi

"This is hugely disruptive to them and to their working parents. We need to seriously rethink what we do.

"Maybe we need better testing so that more young people can safely stay in school.

"If they are out of school, we need to make sure they are safe and they have access to the internet and to devices to help their online learning.”

In early June, weekly average Covid cases in education settings were low but there has been a rapid increase, mostly among pupils, according to Public Health Northamptonshire.

The proportion of schools with recent cases has also increased since mid-May, from seven percent to 13 percent.

Fellow Labour Castle councillor Danielle Stone said children's schooling has been seriously disrupted with schools closed during lockdown.

"Online learning offered by the schools was great and many thanks should go the teachers. However, not all children have access to devices or broadband," she said.

"Disadvantaged children, and children living in seriously overcrowded conditions, are impacted even more.

"Even though the schools are now open the disruption continues, with whole year groups being sent home if someone close to one of them has the virus."

The councillors want to know what is being done to make up for children's gaps in learning, their loss of out of school activities and to help them re-establish friendship groups.

They believe serious thought and serious investment needs to be given to how schools and families are supported.

Labour councillor Enam Haque, who also represents Castle ward, added: “I am seriously worried about the impacts of Covid-19 on our children - they have had a really bad time.

"The strain is showing in the increase in mental health issues experienced by even very young children.

"We need more thought going into how to meet their needs. We need serious investment in additional learning opportunities, extra-curricular activities, weekend and holiday play schemes.

"We need to see the whole child and put strategies in place to meet all their needs. I don’t see it happening and I am seriously worried."