As the summer term is drawing to a close, staff, parents and children are looking forwards to the new school year now we know that schools and colleges will be able to reopen for all. Today I met with staff and students at Holy Family Catholic Primary School and Brooklands College to discuss their experience through the pandemic and how they are planning to reopen for all students from September.
Our schools and colleges have done a fantastic job looking after vulnerable children and the children of key workers throughout, supporting those who are home learning and welcoming back more pupils from June where possible. The preparations for a return in September are already well under way and I was deeply impressed by the detailed planning and dedication that is evident in all the measures being taken to adapt. Our schools and their staff have faced many challenges and had to respond to rapidly changing circumstances, but throughout it is clear that the welfare of their students has always been paramount.
Beyond the planning, the clear message from both Holy Family and Brooklands has been how both staff and families have come together as a community to address these challenges, and that in the midst of uncertainty there is also opportunity. Opportunity to grow as a community and identify how we can work more closely together to continue the level of support we have seen through the pandemic, and to use the change enforced due to Covid-19 to review whether we can learn lessons from new ways of working.
Brooklands College is already seeing an increase in people reviewing their own circumstances and expressing interest in retraining due to the economic impact. The College offers a range of apprenticeships and it is hoped that these schemes, and the Chancellor’s announcement this week that the Government will incentivise employers to create new apprenticeships, will help people leaving education, or those whose work circumstances have changed, use this time to learn and develop new skills for their future profession.
As the Chancellor highlighted, ninety one per cent of apprentices stay in work or go on to further training. Paying employers £2,000 per new apprentice and offering students the opportunity to learn essential skills while our economy is in recovery is a fantastic way to not only support people now, but also ensure future prosperity and growth.
Everyone can help.
Coronavirus has affected us all, but it has brought communities together and now everyone is working flat out to get the economy moving again and supporting people’s jobs. The next stage in supporting the community is for all of us to spend local and support local businesses and the jobs they provide. There has never been a better time to head out to the high street and shop, enjoy a pint in the pub, eat out in a local restaurant, and book flights for a late summer holiday.