“Lively debate with good and natural engagement from Vicky together with quite a lot of useful and informative responses.”
In May 2021 the Community and friends welcomed Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Children and Families) to discuss and debate ideas and opportunities for Education and Family in a Post-Pandemic World.
Vicky Ford is MP for Chelmsford and currently Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Children and Families). You can see a list of responsibilities of her Ministerial Role here
The pandemic has provided an ideal opportunity to re-think and reform for the better the lives and education of children and families. Perhaps this is the time to begin again and build a fairer system for all? A focus group, following a wider debate from our Reimagine series on Education & Families, developed some of the ideas and questions raised earlier this year. We invited Vicky Ford to discuss and debate these with us.
Our questions focussed on areas of curriculum, mental health and education of the whole person. We were grateful to Vicky Ford for giving up an hour of her Friday evening to give her answers and reflections. The evening was refreshingly more ‘fire-side chat’ than ‘Question Time’ as Vicky gave an update on several of the government initiatives including the recently-announced mental health budget allocation and holiday activities and food programme for disadvantaged children – emphasising that volunteers will be required!
Not all our questions on future of the curriculum and assessment were answered (Nick Gibb’s area of expertise rather than Vicky’s) but Vicky gave us an update on the new RSHE programme, early years assessment, the National Tutoring scheme, new T levels (skills based training), life skills opportunities and the appointment in February of the new Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, who was working with the government to oversee education catch-up post-COVID. We were told that a package on recovery would be announced soon – including early years, special needs, deprivation etc. New Commissioner appointed to oversee education catch-up – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
*** Further announcements are awaited with interest, following the funding row this week which prompted the resignation of Sir Kevan.
Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust social mobility charity was quoted by the BBC: “The stakes here are very high. Namely the future prosperity and health of our children,” He said that Sir Kevan was right to walk away “given the derisory amount” being offered for catch-up.