The government has launched a £1 billion COVID “catch-up” package to help children who have missed out on education to catch up.
Government funding of £650 million will be available for primary and secondary schools to spend on small tuition groups for those who need it. This one-off grant is to support pupils in state education, recognising that all young people have lost time in education as a result of the pandemic, regardless of their income or background.
Whilst head teachers will decide how the money is spent, the government expects this to be spent on small group tuition for whoever needs it.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This £1 billion catch-up package will help head teachers to provide extra support to children who have fallen behind while out of school.”
“I am determined to do everything I can to get all children back in school from September, and we will bring forward plans on how this will happen as soon as possible.”
Separately, a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people over the 2020/21 academic year. This will help accelerate their academic progress and prevent the gap between them and their more affluent peers widening.
This £1 billion package is in addition to the £14 billion three-year funding settlement announced last year - recognising the additional work schools will need to do to help students to catch up.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We cannot afford for any of our children to lose out as a result of Covid-19. The scale of our response must match the scale of the challenge.”
“This package will make sure that every young person, no matter their age or where they live, gets the education, opportunities and outcomes they deserve, by spending it on measures proven to be effective, particularly for those who are most disadvantaged.”
“The plan will be delivered throughout the next academic year, bringing long term reform to the educational sector that will protect a generation of children from the effects of this pandemic,” he added.
The government aims for all providers running holiday clubs and activities for children over the summer holiday to be able to open, if safety measures can be adhered to. Guidance will be provided to the sector on how to implement the protective measures necessary to open safely, and to parents on how to minimise the spread of the virus if they choose to attend.
The Education Endowment Foundation has also published a guide to help school leaders and staff decide how to use this funding to best support their pupils and their outcomes. The guide provides advice on support strategies schools can use in deciding how to support pupils, including intervention programmes, extra teaching capacity, access to technology or summer schools.
Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said: “Despite the heroic efforts of schools, many pupils’ learning has suffered as a result of school closures. These children are drawn disproportionately from disadvantaged communities and need extensive support.”
“We are delighted that the government is announcing a large sum today to benefit those pupils who need it the most. We are proud to support the tutoring programme. Extensive trials show that high-quality tuition is a cost-effective way to enable pupils to catch up. Through a collaboration of organisations across the country, our aim is to make this tuition available to tens of thousands of primary and secondary school pupils. Our hope is that it becomes a powerful tool for teachers in the years to come,” he concluded.
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