PMQs: Prime Minister must make fresh education U-turn, says Starmer

Watch as Boris Johnson faces MPs amid growing worry the reopening could be delayed.


Boris Johnson must make another education U-turn and boost funding to help children catch up on lost learning, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour leader claimed the Prime Minister’s education policy is “all over the place” and he is “on the wrong side” of the issue again when it comes to the post-Covid 19 recovery.

Catch-up tsar Sir Kevan Collins walked away from his post and criticised the Government’s £1.4 billion recovery fund for children affected by school closures due to the pandemic, amid reports he was pushing for £15 billion.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir said: “In February the Prime Minister appoints an expert to come up with a catch-up plan for education.

“He’s a highly respected expert, consults widely and comes up with a plan.

“The Treasury baulks at it and says we’ll only provide 10%, yes one tenth, of what’s needed. The Prime Minister rolls over, whatever he says, and children lose out. So much for levelling up.

Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions Credit: House of Commons/PA

“Let me help the Prime Minister with the numbers. The funding he announced last week is about £50 per child per year, and even if you add in previous announcements, in England it’s only £310 per child over four years.

“Yet in the US there’s a catch-up plan worth £1,600 per child and in the Netherlands it’s £2,500.”

Mr Johnson said Sir Keir “needs to do some catch-up on his own mathematics”, adding: “In addition to the £14 billion I’ve already referred to, there’s already another £1.5 billion of catch-up – this is a £3 billion catch-up plan just for starters.

“It includes the biggest programme of tuition – of one-to-one, one-to-two, one-to-three tutorials – anywhere in the world.”


Listen to our politics podcast, Calling Peston: