Covid -19 has changed all our lives. It has also accentuated the significant inequalities that exist in our society. Self isolation has hit hardest those in cramped urban accommodation with limited access to open spaces. Unemployment has principally affected blue rather than white collar workers, with professional classes being able to make the relatively easy transition to home working. Those with wealth are able to shop online to their hearts content, exercise regularly in rural areas adjacent to where they live , relax in their own gardens enjoying the glorious Spring weather and use the latest technology to interact with friends and family.
But it’s in the teaching of our children where the glaring social inequalities that exist in our country today are most visible.
Fee paying schools have the funds and infrastructure to assure parents that remote teaching and learning will be delivered at the highest possible level. With smaller class sizes teachers are able to work with pupils at an individual level, and with access to high-end technology they are able to deliver effective and interactive on line lessons. The children they teach are, in most cases, equipped for the world of home learning with access to laptops, tablets, PCs and printers.
The majority of state schools, to the unfortunate detriment of the children who attend them, do not enjoy these benefits.
They have hard working , bright and committed teachers, but limited means to deliver effective remote teaching. With education budgets likely to be squeezed even further in the future as a result of the crisis, the challenges facing state run schools has never been greater.
Philanthropy will help address some of this disparity.
The crisis has shown that a huge generosity of public spirit exists, and that people will support services they see as fundamental a part of what makes this country what it is. The NHS has never had more public recognition and, albeit belatedly, government investment. The education sector deserves similar treatment and levels of respect. British education has long been held in high esteem throughout the world , but this cannot continue if access to a good education is wealth dependent and that the state sector is starved of funds.
NOW is exactly the right time for making a case for supporting our state schools.