Worcester MP Robin Walker's Westminster Diary - The Worcester Observer

Worcester MP Robin Walker's Westminster Diary

Worcester Editorial 11th Sep, 2023   0

I WAS delighted to hear from headteachers from across Worcester who reported great results in their schools’ GCSE, A Level, and T Level results over the summer.

Although we will not know the full picture for some time, initial data suggests results are good across the city and grades are above pre-pandemic levels.

This demonstrates a resilient and hardworking cohort of students who should rightly be proud of what they have achieved.

Over the summer young people also benefitted from the government’s holiday activity and food (HAF) programme, which gives local authorities a share of £200million a year to support children in receipt of free school meals through holiday periods.

Over 45 providers across the county delivered a range of activities for children throughout the summer, ensuring young people could receive healthy and nutritious meals, maintain a healthy level of physical activity, and returning to school feeling engaged and ready to learn.

It was, of course, a tough start to the new term for some schools which were affected by the issues around Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC).

Although 147 education settings out of more than 20,000 had to take action due to RAAC, fewer than 1% of schools across England were affected.

I am pleased that Worcestershire County Council were able to confirm that none of our County’s educational settings for which they have responsibility are affected, with some schools awaiting further surveys.

No local schools appear on the list of those facing disruption which was published by Government today but I want to ensure that all schools get the support they need to prove they are safe and minimise disruption to education.

As Chair of the Education Select Committee I will be leading an inquiry session into what went wrong with RAAC and how we learn lessons for the future. This is alongside our ongoing inquiry into the impact of persistent absence and young people missing vital education.

This is a problem which could be exacerbated by any disruption to school from RAAC, causing pupil absence and lost learning. I am determined that we do everything possible to get children back into schools where they are safe.

Worcestershire County Council are calling on creative young people to help improve attendance. Using drawings and catchphrases young people are encouraged to use imaginative ways to share a positive message of the value of good attendance.

There will be prizes for young people in the 9 and under category and the 10 and over category and entries closing on September 22nd. Entries can be  submitted by email to [email protected].

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