COSLA said today (Monday) that despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the high level of commitment and action shown by Local Government has ensured that our children and young people continue to get the most from their lives in extremely difficult circumstances. COSLA also said that it fully recognised just how difficult a situation this had been for our young people.
The COSLA Blueprint for Local Government commits to working to identify the opportunities to make sure children and young people get the very best education and wider learning and support that can be offered with a clear focus on tackling poverty and inequality.
COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson Councillor Stephen McCabe said: “The first thing to say is that we fully recognise just how difficult a situation this has been for our young people.
“That is why, Local Government responded at pace to the most challenging of circumstances, including delivering free school meals to vulnerable families, with Councils working tirelessly to ensure the safe re-opening of our schools. However, the impact of COVID-19 on children and young people cannot be underestimated.
“It is crucial that we drive a recovery and renewal process that invests in and supports children, young people and families, including those who have the greatest number of barriers placed in their way due to poverty and social inequality.
“Our Blueprint has a focus on child well-being and Getting it Right for Every Child, closing the education attainment gap and effective digital connectivity to support learning especially for the most disadvantaged children and young people.”
Councillor McCabe continued: “We are calling for education and children’s services that are fully funded and for more recognition that decisions taken locally will mean that councils are able to direct resources where they are most needed. We also need to make sure that children and young people themselves are at the forefront of how services are designed and delivered. Crucially we need to work with our partners to expand the digital offer so that all children and young people have access to learning when they need it no matter the circumstances.
“The Blueprint also recognises that whilst the pandemic has shown the resilience of both families and communities, there is little doubt that there will be greater levels of demand for the core services that Local Government provides moving forward. Social work, family support, services for looked after children and child protection are just a few examples of the services that need to be supported and resourced to ensure they are able to cope with demand.”