William Eichler 19 June 2020

Teachers call for summer holiday offer to support children

Teachers call for summer holiday offer to support children  image

Teachers have urged the Government to fund local authorities to help them provide summer activities for children in preparation for a return to school in September.

The Summer 2020 Local Offer would focus on providing children and young people access to safe and enriching activities, including exercise.

Proposed by the National Education Union (NEU), the offer would be at a minimum available to children on free school meals, vulnerable pupils, and those with special educational needs.

It would fund councils to audit what local providers were capable of providing in terms of summer clubs and adventure playground services.

The offer would also help councils to recruit staff and volunteers to work over the summer.

‘The NEU is today publishing positive recommendations for the summer holiday. They focus on engagement, exercise, creativity, and preparing young people to be ready to learn come September. This ‘local offer’ will also make a vital contribution to children's physical and mental health,’ said Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU.

‘The summer of 2020 will be a unique situation, and it is vital we respond to what young people are facing. We are calling on the Government to fund and give urgent support to Local Government to make it possible for councils to plan a Summer holiday local offer for children eligible to FSM and other vulnerable children.

‘Local councils need advice and funding to decide how children and young people can get outside in supervised and safe situations this summer, given the ongoing importance of social distancing.

‘Local councils are best placed to audit and co-ordinate what could work in their area, given local infection rates, and to devise a realistic plan so that children eligible for free school meals will have access to positive and healthy activities, so they are ready to learn in September.’

Responding to the proposal, Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People said: ‘We agree that councils must be fully funded and have local flexibility to deliver any scheme that aims to provide additional support and services to vulnerable children and young people over the summer.

‘Councils are ready to step up and innovate by using cultural facilities to provide space and resources to support learning efforts and physical activities over the summer when most schools will be closed.’

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