Recently, I met with several headteachers from our community at a Schools North East virtual roundtable.
We had a useful discussion on some of the main issues facing our schools, including school funding and COVID-19 related costs, as well as how we can support children and families as we begin to recover from the immediate impact of the pandemic.
I am thankful for all the hard work and dedication that school staff have provided throughout this crisis. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
The circumstance over the past year have been incredibly challenging, but our children and young people have continued to work hard despite so much uncertainty, which will have undoubtedly taken a toll on them.
As we emerge from this pandemic we must ensure children are at the heart of our efforts to rebuild our country, giving them the support and opportunities they need to fulfil their potential.