Coronavirus: 'Pay teachers to work in summer schools'

Charity calls on government to fund summer schools to help disadvantaged pupils catch up after pandemic

summer school

Paying teachers overtime to work in summer schools will be essential to helping disadvantaged children catch up following the school closures, according to an educational charity.

Teach First says summer schools should be part of the “intensive recovery provision” funded by the Department for Education to minimise the growing attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers while most children are not attending school.

And it says a majority of teachers would be willing to work over the summer, although most would want paying.

Related: 'Open schools over summer holidays'

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Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First, said: “Paying teachers overtime for their optional extra work, and fully resourcing summer schools, particularly in the most disadvantaged communities, will be essential to getting the support to the children who need it most.

“Summer schools are one way to provide the foundations to re-engage pupils with ongoing school life, re-establishing routines so that when schools fully resume, young people can hit the ground running with learning.”

However, chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon MP, has said he would support "some kind of summer school" run not by teachers but by volunteers, including retired teachers and Ofsted inspectors.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, he said: "I wouldn't want to put an extra burden on teachers, many of whom are exhausted and have been displaying incredible courage."

Last week, education secretary Gavin Williamson ruled out opening schools over summer, but he said the DfE was "looking at a whole set of interventions to help children catch up in terms of their work".

A DfE spokesperson said: “We will do whatever we can to make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of coronavirus. 

“The government has already committed over £100 million to support children to learn at home, and pupil premium funding at the highest-ever rate per pupil continues to be paid while schools are closed to help them support their disadvantaged pupils.

“We are considering, with a range of partner organisations, what more is required to support all pupils who have been affected by school closures.”

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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