Release date: 02/06/2021

Plans announced by the Department for Education today (2 June) show that £1.4 billion will be spent on boosting “education recovery” to help children and young people “catch up” on learning disrupted by the pandemic.

It will include the six million “15-hour tutoring courses” for disadvantaged pupils identified as being in need of support through additional funding for the National Tutoring Programme and money direct to schools to develop a local tutoring provision, which will be funded in “accordance with their pupil premium allocations”. Investment in teacher training is also being made including for early years staff and qualifications for middle and late career teachers. The 16-19 tutoring programme is being extended too, while some year 13 pupils will be funded to repeat their final year if they have been particularly badly impacted by the pandemic.

Funding for any further recovery plans will depend on the next spending review due to take place in the autumn.

Emma Knights, chief executive of NGA said: “The announcement is very disappointing, particularly given the public expenditure on others aspects of COVID protection, that the Government has not provided more for pupils. This surely cannot be the best that our nation can do for our children and young people. We should be more ambitious.”

Steve Edmonds, director of advice and guidance at NGA said: "There is overwhelming agreement that the set of measures announced today are not joined by the funding needed for schools and trusts to deliver them. The bigger picture is that school funding remains at 2010 levels and governing boards are continuing to take difficult decisions in response to financial constraints. The government’s previous decision to push ahead with a change to the way pupil premium funding is calculated compounds this issue and in no way chimes with their insistence that education is crucial to our national recovery after the COVID pandemic."

Fiona Fearon, policy and projects manager at NGA said: "Education is the most valuable seed we have at our disposal, it is one of the rare areas of central government policy that has the potential to enrich the lives of each and every individual, the benefits of which can filter through to every corner of society. Yet its value has not been reflected in the financial investment that has now been announced, an annoucement that instead shows a decidedly low level of ambition and fails to recognise the scale of the task at hand. The funding announcement does not equip or empower school leaders and staff to drive forward the recovery of learning so desperately needed by the children we serve, much less permit a vision for reform in bringing our education system into this era that benefits all children equally, regardless of socio-economic background."

Sam Henson, director of policy and information at NGA added: "NGA is also saddened to hear of the resignation of Sir Kevan Collins in light of this announcement. His resignation clearly demonstrates the scaled down recovery plan does not come anywhere near to the level of support needed to meet the needs of children whose education has been so disrupted by the pandemic. This dramatic turn of events should seek to serve as a reality check for central government that the recovery plan at present is woefully inadequate."

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