In June the UK government announced £1 billion worth of funding to help students in England catch up on learning missed due to Covid-19. So what’s the ‘catch-up’ package composed of and who will benefit from the funding?
Broadly the fund can be split into two parts. £350 million will be spent on a national tutoring program, designed to reach up to two million of England’s most disadvantaged children over the 2020/2021 academic year. A further £650 million is set aside for state primary and secondary schools in England to use over the same period. Head teachers will determine how the money is spent, however it’s expected to largely go towards small group tuition, which experts, including Peter Lampl chairman of the Sutton Trust and Educational Endowment Foundation, state is a cost-effective way to mitigate the impact of covid-19 on education.
While this news has been welcomed by parents and teachers, research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies finds that the £1 billion fund amounts to £80 per student, and just over 1% of additional funding for state primary and secondary schools. Which, given the scale of educational disruption this year, is deemed modest at best.
Will catch-up education be available in the rest of the UK?
The Scottish government has promised £100 million of funding for local authorities, with half going to 850 new teachers and 200 support staff. It is hoped the additional staff will help schools in Scotland prepare to reopen in mid-August and prevent further negative impacts due to missed education.
In Wales, pupils were able to return to school in phases for 3-4 weeks this past month for ‘check in, catch up and prepare sessions’. However, recent reports find that around 40% of students that were invited to return did not attend. The Welsh government also announced £29 million to help pupils catch-up, with a proportion of the fund going towards 900 additional teaching posts. For full-time Welsh students aged 16-19,