Ipswich's Tom Hunt tells MPs to regard students as individuals

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt

Ipswich's Tom Hunt told his fellow MPs students should be looked on as individuals. - Credit: House of Commons

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt urged his colleagues to recognise that school pupils all had individual needs when working how education should recover after the Covid pandemic.

He led a Westminster Hall debate on the impact of Covid-19 on Education as part of his role on the petitions committee, where petitions which receive over 100,000 signatures are debated in Parliament.

During this, he said: "There is an important point that we shouldn’t make assumptions or generalisations about how students have been affected during this pandemic.

"Every single child has been affected differently by this pandemic and if we want to ensure that students who have lost out on learning over this year make it up, we need to ensure that catch-up is tailored to individual students and their needs."

Mr Hunt said it was also important to thank teachers for the work they had done in working remotely during lockdowns over the last year.

The pandemic had taken a toll on the mental health of some students - and he warned about how these issues were discussed: "I really believe that we must be careful of the words we use for the sake of student’s mental health.

"Some of the words used by the media, for example, refer to a ‘lost generation’. We shouldn’t belittle the scale of the challenge, but we need to be positive about the future, and be sensitive to student’s anxieties that they will be able to achieve their full potential."

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He said SEND students had been incredibly affected, particularly those who could not go into school for additional support but rather had to undertake online learning.

He added: "Some students prefer to sit exams because they might be unconventional learners who consolidate their knowledge during revision, and they rely on the opportunity to prove themselves in exams.

"With exams cancelled, this year has been hard on these pupils, and I believe that it is crucial that they are given a voice when it comes to how their attainment is assessed.

"It is important that headteachers and teachers who know students best are given as much flexibility as possible to decide how best to assess student’s attainment, whether it is in mock exams, in class assessments, or coursework.

"It is also vital that the students themselves are able to feed into this decision to ensure that they get the opportunity to reach the grades they deserve."

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