There is much focus on the return to school. School is so important for Children and Young People, not only for their education and future opportunities but also for their mental health and well-being. The risk to children from Covid is very, very low and much smaller than the risk to their future of missing more school.
All Chelmsford schools have been working hard to ensure that all children will be able to return to school safely this September. I visited St John Payne School to hear from their leadership team about the measures they have put in place to keep students and staff safe when school returns next week. At St John Payne, each year group will work in a separate part of the school, they will arrive and leave school from separate entrances, will have separate areas to congregate at break and lunch and will have different collection points for meals at lunchtime. This means that if there was to be a case of Covid, contacts can be easily track and traced and the virus can be contained. I was also very impressed by the thought that has gone into keeping staff safe, especially as they have also suffered from the recent flash flooding which has caused considerable damage to DT classrooms.
Thank you to all school staff for their exceptional hard work and dedication.
It is going to be different in school this term and I know some will find it challenging, extra support is available for schools for mental health and well-being and £1 billion is being invested in catch-up support.
Funding for Chelmsford schools will increase by 6.1% next year - well ahead of the national average of 4%. This follows the campaign led by Essex MPs for fairer funding for Essex schools. Eight schools in Chelmsford will also benefit from funding to improve school facilities this year.
This has been a very difficult year for many young people who have been unable to take their exams. I want to make sure that the vast majority of students are able to continue with their plans to further their studies or enter the workplace. To ensure students can progress to higher education, the Government has removed temporary student number controls and work with the sector to create additional capacity. It has been heartening to hear from many Chelmsford students who have now had their first choice university courses confirmed. Congratulations to all those who received their results in this tremendously challenging year. If you are affected by the results and have an issue with your applicati