10,000 Sunderland pupils could benefit from Summer Learning Fund
By Margaret Crosby
Local councillors are calling on the Government to commit to a Summer Learning Fund that would support nearly 10,000 disadvantaged children across Sunderland to get ready for returning to school.
9,986 children across the city of Sunderland are eligible for free school meals and could now receive them during the six weeks holidays, following a recent Government u-turn.
Now local Lib Dem councillors are calling for further action to ensure no child is left behind.
Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran MP has set out a package of measures to support children and open schools safely. The Party is urging Ministers to create a Summer Learning Fund, which would give every child on free school meals free places at summer learning camps in their community.
The scheme would help Sunderland City Council run such groups to help pupils learn and prepare them for returning to school.
Former primary school teacher in the city and Lib Dem councillor for Grindon and Thorney Close Margaret Crosby said:
"Parents and teachers locally are concerned that pupils, especially the most disadvantaged, are not getting the education and care they need to get on in life.
"That is why we are urging the Government to do more by combining the free school meals voucher scheme with an emergency uplift in child benefit during the crisis and a Summer Learning Fund that supports the most disadvantaged children.
"I hope that Sunderland Council will also commit funds towards a holiday hunger scheme, as they have in the past, because many families will be in financial hardship after covid19 has damaged the economy."
Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran MP commented:
"The Government's plan would have left many vulnerable children to fall through the cracks at a time when people are really struggling.
"I am grateful to Marcus Rashford and all those campaigners who have helped force the Prime Minister to rediscover his conscience, but it should never have been needed.
"The Government must now work cross-party and with parents, teachers and local governments to do more. We must ensure no child is left behind."