Sir Kevan Collins' resignation from his role as the government's education recovery commissioner has been described as a "real blow" by the chair of the Commons Education Select Committee.
The catch-up tsar wrote to the prime minister Boris Johnson this afternoon to quit from the role, as revealed by Tes. He said that he did "not believe" that a "successful recovery" could be achieved with the £1.4 billion recovery package unveiled by the government this morning.
Exclusive: Sir Kevan Collins resigns over catch-up plan
Reacting to the news, Conservative MP Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons education committee, tweeted that "to lose someone of the stature of Sir Kevan Collins was a real blow".
To lose someone of the stature of Sir Kevan Collins is a real blow. Whilst today's catch up money is hugely welcome, to repair damage of school closures, to improve attainment & outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, we need a properly resourced, radical long-term plan & funding 👇 https://t.co/1M9yjmlid0— Robert Halfon MP -Working Hard for Harlow- (@halfon4harlowMP) June 2, 2021
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he was "not surprised.... as the political will just wasn't there to support him".
Sir Kevan Collins 'had much bolder Covid catch-up plans for schools'
“We are sad but not surprised that Sir Kevan Collins is reported to be standing down as education recovery commissioner following the government’s announcement of a recovery package which clearly falls a long way short of what he had in mind," he added.
“We know that Sir Kevan had much bolder and broader plans but that these required substantially more investment than the government was willing to provide.
“He’s tried his hardest on behalf of children and young people, but, in the final analysis, the political will just wasn’t there to support him.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders’ union the NAHT, said: “Sir Kevan Collins’ resignation tops off a truly awful day for the government and a deeply disappointing one for all those working in schools.
“There is little point in appointing an internationally respected education expert as catch-up tsar if you fail to listen to what they have to say.
“The Treasury have refused to respond to the education crisis in the same way as they have the economic one. It is completely understandable why Sir Kevan chose not to become a pawn in whatever game the government is playing.”