DfE summer schools guidance: all teachers need to know

Who are the summer schools for? How will they be staffed? And how many students should attend?

Claudia Civinini

Covid catch-up: The DfE has issued guidance on how funding for summer schools should be used

The Department for Education has today set out how it wants schools to spend £200 million of funding aimed at running summer schools.

The summer school programmes are part of catch-up plans for schools to support pupils after the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Today's DfE guidance says it is estimated that, in the first half-term of autumn 2020, students in Year 9 were, on average, around 1.6 to 2 months behind on their reading, while those in Years 3 to 7 were around 3.2 months behind on their maths.

It adds: “Summer school provision with an academic focus has the potential to support attending pupils to make up for some of their missed education.”

But who are the summer schools for? How will they be staffed? And how many pupils should attend? Here's everything you need to know:

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1. Teachers will be paid

Today's guidance states clearly that teachers who volunteer to take part in a summer programme in a maintained school are eligible for payment. 

It says: "Payment for teachers who agree to participate in the summer schools should be made at a daily or hourly rate calculated by reference to the teacher’s actual salary on their respective pay range."

For support staff and other non-teaching roles, the terms of their participation in the summer programme, including pay, should be agreed with the employer. 

2. Participation is voluntary

Summer programmes will not be a requirement for teachers – nor for schools.

The guidance is clear that teacher participation has to be voluntary, as teachers in maintained schools are not "required to work at weekends or out of normal school term dates unless their contract provides for this".

And schools can decide to opt into the programme, and apply for funding.

Interested schools will need to sign up to the programme by the end of April and confirm their plans in June.

3. The DfE 'expects' schools to focus on incoming Year 7s

Although it will be up to the schools to decide which cohort to focus on, the DfE is clear that it expects schools to focus on provision for students transitioning to Year 7.

The guidance also invites schools to start making arrangements shortly after Easter with their feeder primary schools.

It is hoped that the programmes will support students from disadvantaged backgrounds "whose education has suffered most during the pandemic and from the guidance", the DfE says.

Again, the DfE invites schools to work with their feeder primaries to identify the pupils most in need. 

4. Secondary schools will receive £298 per Year 7 pupil

Funding is based on the number of students in schools' current Year 7 cohort, with £590 allocated per student, per two-week summer course.

Each school will receive enough funding for 50 per cent of students to take part in a two-week course, or 100 per cent to go on a one-week course – equating to £298 per Year 7 student.

For special schools, special units within mainstream schools and alternative provision, the funding will be £1,791 per place in the programme. 

Schools with a very small number of Year 7 students will receive no less than £1,000, the guidance says.

Subject to overall take-up, schools may be able to claim funding to cover additional students. 

5. Schools will need to 'maximise' attendance

Schools will be required to keep a daily attendance record of students attending the summer schools.

The guidance warns that spot checks on compliance with requirements, including the number of places catered for, will be carried out. 

It also makes clear that schools will need to maximise attendance in order to "achieve best value for money".

It says: "If a pupil does not attend the summer school at very short notice, the full day rate will not be automatically payable for that pupil but schools should claim their unrecoverable, receipted costs up to a maximum of the day rate."

6. School meals should be provided 

Meals should be provided, free of charge for those eligible for free school meals.

The guidance suggests that schools can use part of their summer schools funding to pay for the free school meal provision. 

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Claudia Civinini

Claudia Civinini

Find me on Twitter @claudiacivinini

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