TATTON MP Esther McVey said she could not understand ‘how we are allowing a generation of young people to go six months with minimal education’.

Ms McVey is calling for children to return to school as soon as possible because of the impact of being out of the classroom for an extended period.

She said education was the biggest predictor of health and wealth of the next generation, and so getting back to learning, whether that be in a more managed and controlled environment, was vital.

She said: “I cannot comprehend how we are allowing a generation of young people to go six months with minimal education, and how can it be right that some children are getting six hours a day online learning, others one and some none?

“To become independent and be able to choose a life you want you need education.

“Let’s get children back into school as soon as we can, because it will be those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds that bear the brunt.

“People cannot say they want equal opportunities for all while keeping children away from school - the single biggest act of sabotage against equal opportunities.

“If pubs, cinemas and museums can open again then children should be able to get back in school one way or another.

“I get it may need to be blended learning, it may need to be one week in school and then one week off, but I don’t believe we can think about going past September.

“We all hope there will not be a second spike, but there needs to be plans put in place in case it happens. We cannot have another time when children are out of school so much.”

Ms McVey said not everyone had access to laptops or the internet at home, so home schooling over the past three months would have varied greatly.

She believed there were ways children could get back into the classroom, taking safety into account.

Her views are shared by Stuart Herdson, past president of the association of teachers and lecturers, who believed parents and teachers were more fearful than students.

Speaking on a podcast hosted by Ms McVey he said: “If you look at disadvantaged children, I have been speaking to parents and teachers, and they are suffering and not doing the work at home.

“Part of the reason they are not doing it is because the parents do not understand, and it is very frustrating for some parents that they cannot help their children as they do not understand how they are meant to teach it and that is why we have teachers.”

Ms McVey fears the longer children are out of school the more problems that are being stored up.

She said teachers and support staff knew the individual circumstances of their pupils and could offer appropriate support. She also wants Government and examination bodies to set how exams due to be taken in 2021 will be marked given GCSEs and A-levels are two-year courses.