Catch-up plan announced – Friday 19 June 2020

This week I report on the Government’s announcement of a £1 billion catch up plan for next academic year and the publication of the updated Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance that will come into force on 1 September 2020.

£1 billion ‘Covid catch-up plan’ announced
Today Number 10 and the DfE announced a £1 billion package to help to tackle the impact of teaching time lost owing to the coronavirus crisis. The “Covid catch-up plan” will include £350m to pay for a national tutoring scheme for the most disadvantaged pupils as well as £650m to be shared across primary and secondary schools during next academic year for all pupils who need it.

However, the details aren’t yet clear. The DfE has said heads will have discretion on how to spend the £650 million, which is equivalent to just over £91 per pupil. But the department also said it expects them to spend the cash “on small group tuition for whoever needs it”. The DfE has said schools can spend the money on other initiatives, such as summer schools, but has not yet explained how that fits with their demand that schools use it for tutoring and the funding will be for the 2020/21 academic year, so its not clear whether schools will receive it in time to pay for activities this summer.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is due to publish a guide later today to help school leaders decide how to use their £650 million in additional funding. Suggestions highlighted by the DfE include “intervention programmes, extra teaching capacity, access to technology and summer schools”.

The £350 million National Tutoring Programme will be run by the EEF, Sutton Trust, Impetus and Nesta, and will be split into two strands.

  • NTP Partners – schools will get access to “heavily subsidised” tuition sessions for their pupils from an approved list of organisations. The sessions will be subsidised by as much as 75% meaning they will cost £12 per session.
  • NTP Coaches – recent graduates will be trained up and then employed by schools to provide “intensive catch-up support” to pupils, with their salaries paid for by the programme.

In both cases, it will be up to schools to decide how to deploy the tutoring, and whether to use it for individual pupils or small groups. Schools will be able to decide whether to use tuition sessions in addition to their pupils’ normal school day, or during their timetabled day. The Government hasn’t said how many children will benefit from the tutoring programme, just that it will be for those eligible for pupil premium.

Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2020)
On Wednesday, the DfE published the updated statutory guidance which will come into force from 1 September 2020. Changes have been made in three circumstances:

  1. where legislation has required it e.g. reflecting mandatory Relationship Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education from September 2020;
  2. where  helpful additional information has been provided that will support schools and colleges to protect their children e.g. mental health, domestic abuse, child criminal and sexual exploitation and county lines;
  3. important clarifications which will help the sector better understand and/or follow the guidance.

Annex H of the document is a table of the substantive changes that have been made from the current version, which schools must continue to follow until 1 September.