Covid catch-up plan: Pay teachers to work in poor areas

A major new report says education recovery will cost £13.5bn over three years – and details how cash should be spent

John Roberts

Covid catch-up plan: How £13.5bn should be spent on schools

The Education Policy Institute has produced a costed plan for overcoming the learning loss caused by the Covid pandemic’s disruption to education.

The think tank has said that it will take a three-year funding package of £13.5 billion to support education recovery.


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Here is a summary of its main recommendations from today's report and how much it has estimated that this will cost.

Covid catch-up: The EPI's costed recovery plan for schools

  • Extended school hours: Schools should be open before and after normal school hours for pupils to engage in a range of programmes, including sports clubs, social activities, games, pastoral support and academic programmes.  Three-year cost: £3.2 billion
  • Summer wellbeing programmes: Summer programmes should have an academic component while also providing an opportunity for young people to socialise through sports and other activities. The government has already made £200 million available for 2021 “summer schools”, but these are mostly targeted at those entering Year 7. The programme should be open to all pupils aged 5 to 16. Three-year cost: £2 billion.
  • One-to-one and small-group tuitionThe government currently provides one-to-one and small-group tuition via the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). It should continue to fund tuition over the next three years, either through the NTP or directly through schools themselves – depending on the success of the NTP over the next year. Cost:  £340 million in for 2022-23 and 2023-24.
  • An increase and extension of the pupil premium: The pupil premium should be increased to reflect the likely widening of the gap between poorer pupils and their peers following the pandemic. It should also be extended to those on a Child Protection Plan (CPP), given that these pupils are more educationally disadvantaged. Three-year cost of increase: £720 million. Three-year cost to extend it to those on a CPP: £390 million.
  • Greater incentives for teachers to work in “challenging areas”:  Extra payments given to teachers to work in “challenging areas” should be doubled to £2,000 per year, extended to existing teachers, and focused on the poorest 20-25 per cent of schools. Three-year cost: £135 million.
  • School mental health support workers: Schools should be given additional, ringed-fenced funding to hire a support worker. This could be an educational psychologist, pastoral worker or counsellor. Current plans do not guarantee immediate or sufficient support for all schools. Three-year cost: £1.5 billion.
  • Softer accountability measures for schools in 2021-22: Ofsted should refrain from a “business as usual” approach and instead focus inspection on how well schools are supporting pupils following the pandemic. Given the changes to exam grading this year, school performance tables should continue to be suspended for the 2022 cohort
  • A new CPD fund for teachersThe government should create a new and distinct CPD fund for all teachers that focuses on delivering high-quality support programmes with greater transparency and accountability. Three-year cost: £1.2 billion.
  • Allow some pupils to repeat a year The government should introduce a new right for pupils to repeat a year of education, where this is supported by their parent or parents. This would only apply to a very small minority of pupils. Two-year cost: £180 million.

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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