Pupils will have to attend ‘catch-up classes’ during summer as schools given ‘hundreds of millions’

Pupils will have to attend ‘catch-up classes’ during the summer holidays as schools are given ‘hundreds of millions’ to help pupils who have fallen behind during Covid

  • Schools will draft in private tutors and pay teachers to extend their working day
  • Additional ‘Covid premium’ awarded to schools for every disadvantaged pupil
  • More details of ‘catch-up classes’ to be announced by Prime Minister tomorrow

Schools are to be handed hundreds of millions in funding to provide ‘catch-up’ classes throughout the summer to stop children falling through the gaps following almost a year of missed education.

Boris Johnson is due to announce the three-point plan that will see schools draft in private tutors and pay teachers to extend their working day in order to make up some of the hours lost in the classroom, The Sunday Times reports.

An additional ‘Covid premium’ will be awarded to schools for every disadvantaged pupil they have at their institution.

The plan for summer school, which was drawn up by Sir Kevan Collins, will see pupils enjoy sports and physical education in the morning before sitting down at the desk – due to fears that a lack of activity could affect students mental health and academic success, the publication reports.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a virtual special edition of the Munich Security Conference via video link in London, on February, 19, 2021

A source told The Sunday Times: ‘This is not just education support but also social support. We are acutely aware that pupils’ mental health has been impacted by not seeing friends or playing sport.’

More details of the catch-up scheme are set to be announced by the Prime Minister tomorrow.

He is also expected to confirm that teachers will be given the final decision over what grades to award pupils for cancelled GCSEs and A-level exams in 2021 – instead of the troublesome Centre Assessment Grades algorithm which saw average grades drag some candidates down.

Most catch-up funding so far has gone to pay for one-to-one or small group tutoring.

Any move to require teachers to work during the summer is likely to meet resistance from unions.

The children’s commissioner Anne Longfield, who gave her last speech yesterday before stepping down from the role, said it was ‘impossible to overstate how damaging the last year has been for many children’.

The plan for summer school was drawn up by Sir Kevan Collins (pictured)

The plan for summer school was drawn up by Sir Kevan Collins (pictured)

Pupils at Manor Park School and Nursery in Knutsford, Cheshire, as schools across England returned after the Christmas break, January 4, 2021

Pupils at Manor Park School and Nursery in Knutsford, Cheshire, as schools across England returned after the Christmas break, January 4, 2021

She added that the educational failure of underprivalidged children was a ‘national scandal’ that had started long before the pandemic – stating that one in five children do not achieve five GCSEs by the time they are 19.

Ms Longfield said: ‘Two weeks ago the Prime Minister said educational catch-up was the key focus of the entire Government – yet we still don’t know if next month he is planning to take the Universal Credit uplift away from millions of families.

‘The two positions aren’t compatible. If the Government is really focused on educational catch-up, it wouldn’t even countenance pushing 800,000 children into the type of devastating poverty which can have a much bigger impact on their life chances than the school they go to or the catch-up tuition they get.

‘This is the basic flaw in how Government functions: different parts of the system know different areas of these children’s lives, but nobody connects the dots.

Year 5 students use laptops in a classroom at Outwood Primary Academy Park Hill in Wakefield, northern England on February 11, 2021

Year 5 students use laptops in a classroom at Outwood Primary Academy Park Hill in Wakefield, northern England on February 11, 2021

‘The Prime Minister’s promise to ‘level up’ is just a slogan unless it focuses on children.’

A Department for Education spokesperson said: ‘We know schools, parents and pupils need clarity on plans as soon as possible, which is why we have committed to providing two weeks’ notice for them to prepare.

‘Schools are the best place for young people’s education, development and wellbeing, and we are committed to fully reopening them as soon as the public health picture allows.

‘The Prime Minister is due to set out plans for schools reopening on 22 February, and pupils will return from 8 March at the earliest.’

Speaking of Sir Kevan’s appointment Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘I am absolutely determined that no child will be left behind as a result of the pandemic.

‘Our top priority is to get schools open again and once they are, we will make sure that teachers and students are equipped with the resources and the time they need to make up for lost learning.

‘I am delighted that Sir Kevan has been appointed to lead this vital work – his experience and expertise will help ensure every young person is supported to catch up on their education and gain the skills and knowledge they need to be able to seize opportunities in future.’

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