MP for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart, has sung the praises of schools across his constituency – offering his thanks to teachers, teaching assistants, governors, and parents and pupils themselves for their resilience and flexibility during the coronavirus pandemic.
Schools were asked to close their doors to all except vulnerable children and the children of key workers on 20 March last year, and again on 5 January 2021, in order to curb the transmission of Covid-19 – despite the Government indicating that closing schools were the last resort.
The local MP has been meeting with schools and colleges across his constituency, so far meeting with Bishop Burton College, Beverley Grammar School, Holderness Academy, Hornsea School & Language College and Withernsea High School; with meetings with Beverley High School, East Riding College and Longcroft School scheduled for the coming weeks.
Commenting, Graham said;
“These meetings have been a fantastic opportunity to hear directly from school leaders about the trials and tribulations they’ve faced since closing their doors.
“Their resilience and flexibility is remarkable, and although things may have been a bit jittery at first – understandably – it’s very reassuring to hear that schools have found their rhythm and are providing a good level of learning materials for their pupils while at home.
“I think a lot of credit has to go to parents and guardians at home as well, who have had to juggle their children’s education with their own working situation like never before.
“Personally, I’ve been working to ensure that the East Riding has been provided with enough laptops, tablets and 4G routers to help make sure that children don’t get left behind simply because of their circumstances.”
On 12 January, it was confirmed that East Riding Council would receive an additional 1,304 laptops and tablets for disadvantaged pupils, adding to hundreds more delivered during last year’s school closures. Overall, 1.3 million devices are being provided by the Government – one of the largest programmes of its kind in the world.
Graham has met with East Riding Council officials over the past few weeks to learn more about their work to support schools and also heard about the need to repair and maintain devices sent out by the Government last year. The local MP has since written to the Department for Education to enquire about the feasibility of covering these repair costs.
Graham also spoke to A-level students at Beverley Joint 6th Form last year to hear concerns about 2021 exams. The Government has confirmed that assessments will broadly be based on teacher assessments, but further details are yet to be announced.