I got a bit of a shock when I went to my son’s primary school this week to meet his new teacher.
Things started well. The teacher was great and it was lovely actually going into her classroom, having not been allowed to set foot inside the school since last March.
As she went through what the children would be learning – interruptions not withstanding – over the next academic year, she revealed that my son’s year group was the most affected by the Covid lockdowns. They were in reception when schools first closed, then missed half of the year as well as missing out a huge chunk of Year 1.
Subsequently six and seven year olds were found to be the most likely to fall behind in English and maths and to take the longest to recover from the disruption. Despite this there are no plans, as far as I know, to help children make up the gap in schooling.
It’s little wonder then, that a survey out today on young people’s attitudes and views since the Covid pandemic began makes depressing reading.
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The poll of 5,000 respondents aged 10 to 25 found even the youngest surveyed felt the pandemic would affect their chances for the rest of their lives.
The findings also revealed that 60% of 13 to 25 year olds felt they were the “ghosted generation” because they feel they have been suddenly cut off and forgotten about.
The company is calling for the Government to appoint a youth minister to urgently tackle these issues.
That would definitely be a start as there doesn’t seem to be anyone fighting for young people.
Social care reform and how, as a country, we look after the elderly has dominated the political agenda this week, and under the new tax rules the young are set to bear the brunt of paying more to help the older generation.
These are long-standing important issues that can’t just be kicked into the long grass.
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But when are we going to get concrete measures back with financial muscle to help the young?
It’s no wonder the survey found 58% of youngsters felt the Government had failed their generation in the handling of the pandemic.
It really is dire stuff. There has been plenty of talk of levelling up but precious little action.
That needs to change and change fast if we really are to have a country where young people can reach their full potential, no matter where they start in life.