BORIS Johnson has talked a lot about ‘levelling up’ in our country in recent months and also at the recent G7 meeting about doing the same across the world, but in terms of education what is the real picture?

Firstly, we have what has turned out to be a pitiful catch-up scheme for the nation’s children, with only a tiny fraction of the money earmarked for it, compared to what was actually recommended.

It will work out as only £50 per pupil – or the equivalent of about two hours of private tuition. This comes after the ineffective National Tutoring Programme, which saw massive profits for some, but little real, delivery.

Then we come to Johnson’s promises at the G7 about education worldwide. These seemed particularly hypocritical in light of the deadly foreign aid cuts his Government is trying to push through without a vote in the House of Commons.

These cuts will potentially see 100,000 children across the world die from lack of vaccinations for preventable diseases, a further 250,000 avoidable deaths from cuts in maternal healthcare and millions of girls being denied the education they deserve.

All this comes at a time when the world is trying to recover from the pandemic and the scourge of child labour has been highlighted in a report by UNICEF and the ILO, which suggests that the number of children stuck in child labour has risen in the last four years by 8.4m to 160m or one child in ten across the world.

It is time for Johnson to deliver on his rhetoric, whether about education across the world, or helping our children here at home catch-up from the pandemic. As the old, but very wise saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

Peter Sagar, Heaton, Newcastle.