Essex MP urges Government to boost mental health support for school children

Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow Credit: ITV News Anglia

Harlow MP Robert Halfon is urging the Government and Ofsted to boost investment into mental health support for school children.

He says their wellbeing is at risk from the school closures as the country heads into another national lockdown.

Covid-19 cases in Harlow were up by nearly 30% in the days leading up to 30th December 2020. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In Harlow, the latest figures suggest that the total Covid-19 cases in the town were up by nearly 30% in the seven days up to 30th December 2020.

In a statement, Mr Halfon said:

"I will continue to do all I can to support local residents in any way I can, and signpost them to the services they need to get help.

"Residents across Harlow and the villages are already doing all they can to follow the rules but we must redouble our efforts to wash our hands, wear masks, and follow social distancing. By doing so, we can defeat this once and for all.

"On school closures, I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all the headteachers, teachers and support staff across Harlow and the villages for everything they have done, and continue to do, to keep our children learning. I know that this pandemic has been incredibly difficult, especially given the fast-changing policy. As a constituency MP, I am sorry that this has happened."

The majority of schools will have to close as of January 5th. Credit: ITV News Anglia

On January 4th the Prime Minister announced a national Covid-19 lockdown which will remain in place until mid-February.

Mr Johnson announced the restrictions in a televised address to the nation, amid warnings the NHS could be overwhelmed within three weeks if action was not taken.

It comes as the number of Covid patients in hospitals in England rose to nearly 27,000 - a figure 40% higher than the peak level in April.

Under the new measures, people must stay at home and only leave for limited reasons, such as to shop for essentials, to work (if you absolutely cannot work from home), to exercise, to get a COVID-19 test or to escape domestic abuse.

The clinically extremely vulnerable are also being advised to begin shielding again, with those affected set to receive letters “shortly”.

Primary and secondary schools will also close and move to remote education from January 5th, except for vulnerable children and those of key workers.

Early-years settings, such as nurseries, will remain open.

It was also confirmed tonight by the Prime Minister that exams will not go ahead in the summer. The Education Secretary and Ofqual will work to put in place alternative arrangements for GCSEs, A Levels and vocational and technical qualifications.

The full guidance is available here.

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