£700 million support package announced as students return to class

Following the announcement of the roadmap out of lockdown, and a return to face-to-face teaching for all children from 8 March, the government has pledged £700 million in support to help students catch up on educational opportunities that they missed due to the pandemic.

The new package focusses on an expansion of one-to-one and small group tutoring programmes, as well as supporting the development of disadvantaged children in early years settings, and summer provision for those pupils who need it the most. There will also be a new one-off 'Recovery Premium' for state primary and secondary schools, building on the Pupil Premium, which will be provided to schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students.

The 'Recovery Premium' is a one-off payment to state schools in England, totalling £302 million. The average primary school will receive around £6,000 extra, and the average secondary school around £22,000 extra, according to the government.

The figure also includes an £83 million expansion of the National Tutoring Programme for primary and secondary schools, a £102 million extension of the 16-19 Tuition Fund for a further year, and £18 million funding to support language development in the early years. This money had previously been allocated by the Prime Minister in January. 

Summer schools will also get a boost, with £100 million in new funding. This means that secondary schools will now receive £200 million in funding to deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools will be able to target provision based on pupils’ needs but the government is suggesting they may want to initially target incoming year 7 pupils. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“Teachers and parents have done a heroic job with home schooling, but we know the classroom is the best place for our children to be.

When schools re-open and face to face education resumes on 8 March, our next priority will be ensuring no child is left behind as a result of the learning they have lost over the past year.

This extensive programme of catch-up funding will equip teachers with the tools and resources they need to support their pupils, and give children the opportunities they deserve to learn and fulfil their potential.”

This package of support follows the delivery of more than one million laptops and tablets to the most disadvantaged children and young people across the country. The delivery of these laptops represents a vital lifeline for students from disadvantaged backgrounds as classes and learning go online - however the government has been criticised for the slow roll out of the scheme. 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Our package of measures will deliver vital support to the children and young people who need it most, making sure everyone has the same opportunity to fulfil their potential no matter their background.

I know that longer-term support over the length of this parliament will be vital to ensure children make up for lost learning. Our Education Recovery Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, will be engaging with teachers, school and college leaders and families over the coming weeks and months to develop our longer term plans.”