THE leader of Torfaen council has raised concerns over the ability of some children to learn from home while schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a meeting of the council's cabinet, Cllr Anthony Hunt, said it was important “for us to remember in the midst of this lockdown and pandemic that we have got that wider job of work that we are all very focused on.”

He said that coronavirus lockdown had brought into focus inequalities some vulnerable groups face.


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Cllr Hunt said: “I am concerned. My kids are getting a good mix of distance learning between the efforts of colleagues in schools and us making sure they’re keeping up with things, but that’s not the same for all learners.

“Not everyone has the luxury of a safe, quiet home and parents who can help.

“I think we need to keep that in mind.”

Cllr Hunt also commended the work of colleagues who had helped identify equipment for digital learning, and said the council needed to be mindful that some homes did not have access to equipment or a broadband connection.

“There’s a lot of talk nationally about schools at the moment and when they should go back, and a lot of it misses the point really,” he said. “Whatever happens we need to make sure all children have the opportunity to learn as well as they can and for that focus on wellbeing.

“I am worried about the effect of this on our young learners; it’s obviously a very stressful time and that transmits to young people.”

The cabinet member for children, families and communities, Cllr Fiona Cross, said the social divide between those that have and those who don’t is likely to expand as a result of the pandemic.

Cllr Cross said: “It’s going to be a lot harder to bring people to the same place because of these social inequalities and it’s a thing that I think we need to be really mindful of.”