New home learning arrangements have shown "real impact" poverty has on child achievement

The new home teaching arrangements during Covid-19 have highlighted how poverty holds children back, Plaid Cymru have said.

In March, at the start of the pandemic, Plaid Cymru called for free individual laptops for school-age children who need it, and free internet to all homes with school-age children who currently do not have access to the internet.

Plaid Cymru's Shadow Education Minister, Sian Gwenllian AM, said if this had been implemented immediately it would have made a difference.

Ms Gwenllian added that after several weeks of the new school system, the “educational inequality caused by poverty” had become clear and warned that an "extended period" of home learning could "widen the attainment gap".

Ms Gwenllian said it was “not too late” to implement Plaid Cymru's suggestion of free equipment and called for clear leadership from Welsh Government to ensure that schools and local authorities across Wales could provide free equipment to the children who needed it and financial support for authorities who needed to urgently buy new laptops.

Ms Gwenllian said the pandemic should not mean children losing their education and that "no child should be left behind."

Last week, the new Wales Anti-Poverty Alliance group wrote to the First Minister to seek financial support for parents who will find it difficult to provide the resources needed to do school work. Without this there is a risk of long-term effects to the future prospects of some of the poorest children in our communities.

Blackwood Councillor Rhys Mills has said that,

“Teachers are trying to be as flexible as possible, but such apparent problems mean inevitably some will fall behind.  

“With no indication of when schools will reopen, this prolonged period could see a widening of the attainment gap. Having no wi-fi or a suitable devices means children are being locked out of their education.  No child should be left behind."


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