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Government appoints education recovery commissioner

An education recovery commissioner has been appointed by the prime minister to ensure children and young people recover learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boris Johnson announced the appointment of Sir Kevan Collins as the government’s Education Recovery Commissioner, to oversee a comprehensive programme of catch-up aimed at young people who have lost out on learning due to the pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I am absolutely determined that no child will be left behind as a result of the pandemic.

“Our top priority is to get schools open again and once they are, we will make sure that teachers and students are equipped with the resources and the time they need to make up for lost learning.

“I am delighted that Sir Kevan has been appointed to lead this vital work – his experience and expertise will help ensure every young person is supported to catch up on their education and gain the skills and knowledge they need to be able to seize opportunities in future,” he added.

The government has committed £300 million to help with catch-up in education this year, on top of the £1 billion announced in June last year. In recognition that school closures have had a huge impact on children’s learning, the prime minister has pledged to work with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their learning over the course of this Parliament.

Sir Kevan, who has worked in the education sector for over 30 years as a teacher, a Director of Children’s Services and most recently as Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, will lead the work.

Sir Kevan will work with government to deliver measures that will support children who have missed out on face-to-face education due to extended school closures, including addressing factors such as curriculum content and quantity of teaching time in the coming months. The programme will ensure the impact the pandemic has had on learning is addressed as quickly and comprehensively as possible.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Sir Kevan brings a wealth of experience in education policy that I know will be invaluable in supporting all the young people who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“He will be a tremendous asset to those young people, their families, and everyone working in education who have my lasting gratitude for their efforts to support young people throughout the pandemic,” he added.

Schools have been closed to the majority of pupils and the government has been doing everything possible to support children to learn from home, such as providing disadvantaged children with laptops and devices to support home learning.

The government is due to set out further details on its approach to re-opening schools as part of its plan for leaving lockdown, which will be published in mid-February.

Sir Kevan will report directly to the Education Secretary and the Prime Minister, and will consult closely with parents, teachers and schools as part of his role.

We reported earlier this week how attendance at school has risen further last week.

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