THE YORKSHIRE Party is calling on schools to provide live internet lessons if there is a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown.

They are also calling on the Government to ‘learn its lessons’ from the loss of education during the first lockdown and provide urgent financial support for IT equipment.

Yorkshire Party leader, Bob Buxton, said: “We want schools to stay open as normal if at all possible – kids have missed far too much school already. But if a circuit-breaker lockdown of two or three weeks, as Sage scientists have called for, is unavoidable, then the next best thing is live online lessons. This maintains a degree of social interaction and learning, even if the full school timetable cannot be delivered.”

“We called repeatedly on the Government to make live internet lessons compulsory during lockdown and were pleased to see some intent to do so recently. But schools need far greater support including revised guidance and IT equipment for pupils and staff - urgently.”

Dr Buxton said the party recognised the challenges of switching to online teaching.

“Whenever a lockdown may start, the first week should be taken as the half-term holiday, to allow the maximum possible preparation time. From my own experience of teaching months-worth of lesson online, I am aware that difficulty levels must be adjusted when monitoring progress is more difficult. When teaching minors, it is advisable for a second adult to be present for safeguarding. This extra strain on staff resources, along with the impracticalities of physical tasks, may mean that each child can only receive one or two lessons per day – but that’s at a lot more than nothing.”

The Yorkshire Party also wants to see greater provision for children with special educational needs and safeguarding concerns.

Dr Buxton said:“Insufficient measures were put in place during the first lockdown. The most vulnerable children must not be let down again.”

“Going forwards, acting decisively now could facilitate remote learning in the future, whenever it is necessary. Let’s not repeat the education mistakes of the first lockdown, let’s learn from them and improve.”