• Wed. Feb 24th, 2021

Teachers to run summer schools lessons to help children catch up


Feb 24, 2021

Pupils will be offered summer school lessons to make up for lost learning (Picture: Getty)

Summer lessons will be offered to children leaving primary school and all secondary pupils as part of a £700 million catch-up package to reverse the impact of lockdowns.

The Prime Minister has pledged an extra £400 million of funding – on top of the £300 million announced in January – as part of an education recovery plan following months of school closures.

Face-to-face summer classes will be introduced for pupils who need it the most, such as incoming Year 7 pupils, while one-to-one and small group tutoring schemes will be expanded.

The Government considered a variety of options as part of its catch-up plans – including extended school days and shorter summer holidays – but neither proposal was included in the details to be set out on Wednesday.

Education leaders called the package of measures ‘a promising start’, but warned recovery cannot happen in a single summer. Meanwhile, Labour claims the funding amounts to just 43p per day for each child.

Under the programme, state schools will have access to cash through a one-off Recovery Premium totalling £302m.

This will allow them to use the funding as they see fit to support disadvantaged students, including additional clubs and activities in the summer.

Another £200m will be available to secondary schools to deliver extra classes in the holidays, while the rest of the funding package has been earmarked for an expansion of tuition prgrogrammes and language support.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘Our package of measures will deliver vital support to the children and young people who need it most, making sure everyone has the same opportunity to fulfil their potential no matter their background.’

Sir Kevan Collins, an ex-teacher, government adviser and former head of the Education Endowment Foundation, has been appointed to oversee the Government’s catch-up programme.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green said the announcement was ‘not adequate and will not make up for the learning and time with friends that children have lost’.

She added: ‘There is no specific mention of supporting children’s mental health or wellbeing, which is fundamental to enabling their recovery from this pandemic.

‘Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak spent more on the failed Eat Out to Help Out Scheme than they will on our children’s recovery. This package amounts to just 43p per day for each child.’

Union leaders have also said the package doesn’t go far enough.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said it was ‘frustrating’ the funding had been ‘salami-sliced to such an extent that it may reduce its effectiveness’ and called for money to go to schools directly rather than being ring fenced.

Labour claimed the funding is equivalent to 43p a day (Picture: Getty)

The funding announcement comes ahead of details expected to be released on the replacement scheme for this year’s cancelled GCSEs and A-levels.

All pupils will return to the classroom on March under a ‘big bang’ reopening plan.

Secondary school pupils will be required to wear masks in the classroom and corridors once they return and will undergo twice-weekly Covid tests.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty on Monday insisted the risk posed by coronavirus to children at school is ‘incredibly low’ as he ‘categorically denied’ a claim he opposed an all-in-one return.

The top medical advisor said there are ‘huge advantages’ to reopening schools across England in terms of the mental and physical health benefits for children as well as for their education.

He said falling infection rates meant that ‘there is some headroom’ to resume face-to-face lessons next month and that ‘everything is strongly in favour of children, whether primary or secondary, of going to school.

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