IT is embarrassing for the Government that the education recovery tsar, Sir Kevan Collins, has resigned because there is not enough money for the pandemic catch-up plan.

In fact, the £1.5bn the Government put forward yesterday is only a tenth of what Sir Kevan reportedly said was necessary to ensure that this generation of children does not fall behind because of the pandemic.

It is true that £1.5bn sounds a lot, but it breaks down to just an extra £50 per pupil per year.

While education is universally important, in those areas that want to be levelled up, it is particularly vital. According to Northern Powerhouse Partnership, 10.1 per cent of North-East secondary school pupils are long-term disadvantaged compared to 2.8 per cent of those in outer London. Unfortunately, fifty quid a year is not going to make a dent in their overall disadvantage and so the pandemic will cause them to fall further behind – the exact opposite of levelling up.

Everyone acknowledges that Government spending has to be cautious, but you can’t be too careful with our children’s futures.

The Government quickly raise expectations yesterday that there would be another announcement in the autumn’s spending review. In old report card terminology, the Government now knows that it must try harder and do better.