Boris Johnson 'in awe' of parents' lockdown efforts

Boris Johnson has said he is "in awe" of the way parents have risen to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic as schools remain closed to most children.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: PAPrime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: PA

The Prime Minister wrote an open letter to parents, carers and guardians to say they have responded "magnificently", with the government having faced sustained criticism for its handling of education during the pandemic.

His comments have prompted calls for ‘real support’ for families.

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This week Mr Johnson said classrooms in England would remain closed to all but the vulnerable and children of key workers until March 8 at the earliest, having been closed since the Christmas break.

Schools in Scotland will remain closed until at least mid-February, with the date next reviewed by the Scottish Government on February 2.

A phased return is likely for Scotland's schools when the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eventually eased.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the youngest pupils and those with additional support needs will be among the first to return to classrooms.

In the open letter, Mr Johnson wrote: "I'm particularly in awe of the way the parents, carers and guardians of children have risen to the unique challenges with which you have been faced.

"Whether you've been welcoming a baby into the world without all the usual support networks, finding new ways to entertain a restive five-year-old when the soft play centre is shut and playdates are but a distant memory, or steering a teenager through the emotional stresses and strains of these unprecedented times, you have been dealt the trickiest of hands yet played it magnificently."

He insisted the Government was "doing everything we can to support you", with laptops being sent to schools and the extension of free school meals after pressure from critics.

"And when all this is over we're going to be putting hundreds of millions of pounds into nationwide catch-up programmes so that nobody gets left behind," he added.

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"In the meantime, I want you to know that you are doing a great job."

Shadow education secretary Kate Green called for greater help for families, saying the Prime Minister's "warm words" are "no substitute for real support".

"Four weeks into this lockdown hundreds of thousands of children remain without laptops the Government has promised," the Labour MP said.

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