This week the Child Poverty Action Group held a briefing session for MPs ahead of the Westminster Hall debate on Child Food Poverty planned for Monday 24 May.

The session highlighted that there are currently 4.3 million children living in households below the poverty line, and that based on pre-pandemic data at least two in five children living in poverty across England were ineligible for free school meals.

 

New research from the education charity Teach First has found that over a third of parents say they have at least one child with no exclusive use of a device for schoolwork. The research found that 10% of parents say they have at least one child sharing with siblings, 13% sharing with other adults in the household, and 6% with no access to a device at all.

During the first lockdown the government pledged 600,000 devices for children so that learning could be moved online in the wake of school closures. However, almost a year later and the government has failed to deliver.

 

Last week Asda announced that they would be donating 7000 laptops to partner schools across the United Kingdom to tackle digital exclusion. This news broke after Jon Cruddas MP put out the call for local businesses to assist struggling schools.

According to Ofcom, around 9% of children in the UK – between 1.1 million and 1.8 million – do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. These children are primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds and at risk of falling further behind with their education.

 

At the start of the first lockdown the government promised 600,000 laptops and devices for children across the country so that they could access online learning when schools closed. The majority of children across the country will be learning from home over the coming weeks and the government are still yet to deliver the devices promised to struggling communities.

 

Students in Dagenham and Rainham can now be given an extra chance to access leading universities and apprenticeships. Applications for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools are now open to young people in Dagenham and Rainham.

 

In October, ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review, Jon Cruddas MP co-signed a letter calling on the Department for Education to extend Free School Meal provision to more children in poverty.

Free School Meals were first established in 1906 and despite the changing eligibility requirements, the premise for doing so has remained constant- to provide a nutritional meal to children in order for them to learn and develop in and out of school.

 

From September this year The Book Trust sent out a ‘Time to Read’ pack to every reception age child who starts school across Dagenham and Rainham, and the rest of the country. This year they distributed over 740,000 ‘Time to Read’ packs across England reaching the families of children who started school in the most unprecedented circumstances this year.

 

Jon Cruddas MP is inviting everyone in Dagenham and Rainham to get involved in this year’s UK Parliament Week and join a UK-wide conversation about our democracy, people power and making change happen.

UK Parliament Week is an annual festival organised by the UK Parliament Education and Engagement Team, a service of the House of Commons and the House of Lords which seeks to inform and educate all citizens about the work and role of the UK Parliament.

 

This week in the wake of the A-Level results fiasco, Jon Cruddas MP contacted the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, voicing his concerns. Tens of thousands of young people were left let down and perturbed due to the Government grading system which caused the widespread downgrading of results. 

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