Boost Covid catch-up fund now schools closed, say heads

It is 'very likely' some pupils will fall further behind as schools are forced to move to remote learning, leaders warn
6th January 2021, 3:47pm
Amy Gibbons

Share

Boost Covid catch-up fund now schools closed, say heads

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/boost-covid-catch-fund-now-schools-closed-say-heads
Coronavirus School Closures: Give Schools More Covid Catch-up Funding, Say Headteachers

The government must provide schools with more Covid catch-up funding to deal with the loss of learning that will result from the new national lockdown, headteachers have said.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has called for the funding boost amid concerns that it is "very likely" some pupils will fall further behind with schools closed, as face-to-face teaching is replaced by remote learning.

But when approached by Tes, the Department for Education failed to respond to questions about whether any further funding will be provided for the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), which is part of the government's previously launched Covid catch-up effort.


Exclusive: £350m Covid tutoring promise broken by DfE

Investigation: DfE silent on missing £143m tutor cash

Coronavirus: Covid catch-up tutoring scheme 'needs to last three years'


Geoff Barton, ASCL general secretary, said: "It is our firm view that the government will need to provide schools and colleges with further catch-up funding in light of the latest restrictions on opening announced by the prime minister.

Coronavirus: Schools 'need more catch-up funding'

"The catch-up funding allocated so far amounts to only £80 per pupil and was aimed at providing support in respect of the first national lockdown. Since then, many students have experienced ongoing disruption because of the need to self-isolate in line with Covid protocols during the autumn term, and now face a further period out of school because of the latest lockdown.

"While schools and colleges are doing their utmost to provide high-quality remote education, this cannot be a substitute for direct face-to-face teaching and the support that is offered in school. It is very likely that some pupils will fall further behind and that more focus will be needed on catch-up."

Number 10 and the Department for Education announced their "Covid catch-up plan" in June 2020, which was said to include £350 million for a tutoring scheme for the most disadvantaged pupils, as well as £650 million to be shared across state primary and secondary schools during the 2020-21 academic year.

But in November Tes revealed that the government had admitted breaking its pledge to invest £350 million in the tutoring scheme over that period.

The DfE confirmed that this money would cover two years of tutoring, not one.

In response to questions about future funding and how the scheme will work during the lockdown, a DfE spokesperson said: "The National Tutoring Programme continues to offer high-quality tuition to the students that need it most throughout this academic year and the next.

"The majority of organisations that are providing tutoring on behalf of the programme are already offering online lessons, so catch-up can continue while students are at home. The EEF [Education Endowment Foundation] is working to support as many as possible of the remaining organisations to do the same."

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Register for free to read more

You can read two more articles on Tes for free this month if you register using the button below.

Alternatively, you can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

Already registered? Log in

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Subscribe to read more

You can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters