Digital Divide Shows Why Schools Should Be A Priority In Lockdown Exit Strategy

Economically, the disease’s impact looks like it will hit women and young people hardest, as they are more likely to be in newly-precarious jobs in retail and hospitality. And that inequality is nowhere more stark than in education, where all of the gains of the past 20 years risk being undone by the closure of schools to most pupils. Add in the fact that many of the most deprived children live in cramped flats and have parents who are time-poor as well as cash-poor and the problem is stark. It’s taken weeks for ministers to finally address the idea of providing laptops and wifi routers todeprived households. As Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman pointed out on Newsnight last night, “it’s not just the poorest, it’s the ones with little English... with special educational needs, the young ones who can’t read and write yet”. Committee chair Rob Halfon has come up with some imaginative ideas for extra lessons and support but Williamson seemed tohave none of his own.‌ Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam pointed out he had two sons at home but said any reopenings would need to be “painstakingly” undertaken. He also suggested that it would be “very tricky” to enforce social distancing for four or five-year olds, despite hints from Williamson that reception classes could be among the priorities for reopening. If, as some have suggested, kids don’t go back until next September, that would be a huge chunk of their two-year courses affected.‌ When you’re 16 or 18, those missing months matter much more than they do a fiftysomething MP. Of course getting the economy back on its feet is crucial, that’s why MPs and business groups knock on government doors daily. But it often seems that the children most vulnerable to the downsides of this pandemic lack a similarly powerful lobby to clamour for reopening. Perhaps the PM’s newborn son will act as a reminder of the singular life chances at stake for otherchildren coping with this virus. New PHE figures showed London boroughs have had the highest number of affected care homes. The latest figure 52,429 tests carried out in England, Scotland and Wales on Tuesday, from an overall capacity of just over 73,000 a day. Cut-price pub chain Wetherspoon’s plans to reopen its bars and hotels “in or around June”, despite warnings from ministers that the sector was likely to be the last to be allowed out of lockdown restrictions.  Send tips, stories, quotes, pics, plugs or gossip to