Longer school day ‘not part’ of DfE’s catch-up plan

Lengthening the school day is not part of the government’s plan to help pupils catch up on lost learning, says education secretary

Charlotte Santry


The education secretary has said longer school days are “not part of the plan” to help pupils catch up on lost learning after the pandemic.

At a Downing Street press briefing this evening, Gavin Williamson said that he hoped funding announced earlier today would allow schools to put on classes and wellbeing sessions during the summer holidays.

The Department for Education (DfE) was previously said to be considering out-of-hours classes and extracurricular activities, which could have involved teachers staying late at school.

Sir Kevan Collins, the government’s new Covid catch-up tsar, said earlier this month that “we’re going to have to ask teachers to increase learning time for children”.

Coronavirus: Catch-up tsar wants teachers to increase learning time

Catch-up: Longer school days backed by children's tsar

Learning loss: What is the purpose of extra 'learning time'?

But in response to a question at today’s briefing, Mr Williamson appeared to rule out longer school days. He said: “You ask about lengthening the school day – it is not part of the plan.”

Longer school days have been backed by the former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield and Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons Education Select Committee.

The new catch-up package, announced today, included £200 million for secondary schools to deliver summer schools. Mr Williamson today said teachers could be paid to work over the summer, but from these funds, not a separate pot.

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Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry is deputy news editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @CharlotteSantry

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