Pupils may not want to think about getting back to school right now, in the middle of the summer holidays.
But their heads and teachers are already working flat out to prepare school for their return in September.
Labour is very clear – children must be safely back in class in September.
It’s important for their learning, of course, but also for their social and emotional wellbeing.
By September, many children will have been out of the classroom for almost six months.
That gap in their formal learning will have a longterm effect, especially on the most disadvantaged students.
An official in the Department for Education has admitted that delaying a return to school could widen the attainment gap by as much as 75%. We can’t allow that to happen.
But while heads and staff are doing all they can to get school ready for a safe return, they can’t do it on their own. The government must play its part too.
That means ensuring the currently under-performing ‘test, track and isolate’ programme is working properly.
It means giving schools clear information and access to data about infection rates so they know how to manage their pupils’ learning if they’re faced with a local lockdown.
It means providing information and reassurance to parents.
Ministers have been too slow too many times during this pandemic.
They must use the remaining few weeks of the summer holidays to get everything in place for pupils and staff to return safely to school in September.
The Prime Minister says it’s a moral responsibility.
But his empty words aren’t good enough. We need action.