THE Shadow Schools Minister has slammed the government for failing pupils after Covid-related absences hit a record high of 375,000.

Peter Kyle said that the vast majority of those who are absent have not tested positive for the virus but have been forced to self-isolate due to government restrictions.

The Labour MP for Hove also criticised the government for not using testing effectively in schools and for failing to secure the country’s borders from the Delta variant, allowing it to “rip through our education system”.

Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News, he said: “We’ve only got a few short weeks left of the summer term for students and we need to make sure that every student that is able to go to school does.

“Every single day a student is out of school is a day when they are being scarred for their education going forward and will impact their future in the world of work.”

Mr Kyle suggested schools should consider reintroducing mandatory face coverings for students, ensuring proper ventilation of classrooms, and making sure children have access to free school meals over the summer even if they are forced to self-isolate.

The Argus: Hove MP Peter Kyle during his appearance on Sky NewsHove MP Peter Kyle during his appearance on Sky News

He also hit out at former Health Secretary Matt Hancock after he was forced to resign for breaching Covid restrictions by reportedly having an affair with an aide.

Mr Kyle said: “He has actually taken the public for fools in recent weeks. Everybody from the Queen down took the rules really seriously, but he wasn’t."

Asked about the prospect of Hancock returning to the Cabinet by the end of the year, he added: “You cannot have somebody who breaks the rules that he makes in a public health crisis and then leave government and expect to come back at some point.

“We also have to understand the potential for corruption that has happened on his watch… before it is even conceivable that he could have a return to frontline politics.”