The Government has committed to a long-term education recovery plan.

schoolboy concentrating on his work

The Government has committed to a long-term education recovery plan and it is said that the next stage will include a review of time spent in school and college and the impact this could have on helping children and young people to catch up.

All ages from 2 to 19 are comprehensively covered by the offers of;

  • Radically expanded tuition.
  • Specialist training for early years and for school teachers at every stage of their career from new teachers to head teachers.
  • The option for some year 13 students to repeat their final year.

The government have announced a total of £1.4bn to be invested to boost education recovery and to help those children affected by the pandemic to catch up on learning lost. This will include £1 billion to support up to 6 million, 15-hour tutoring courses for disadvantaged school children, as well as an expansion of the 16-19 tuition fund, targeting key subjects such as maths and English.’ The £1bn is there to improve the availability and approach to tuition in every school and college over the next three years. This equates to around £22 per student which is no where near enough tutoring to catch up on nearly a year of thorough learning lost. There is also said to be extra support put in place for those disadvantaged pupils in need of support due to time lost in education as a result of the pandemic.

These children and young people across England will be offered up to 100 million hours of free tuition due to being affected by the Covid-19 school closures. Schools will also now be able to provide additional tutoring support using locally employed tutors as well as the National Tutoring Programme.

Prime Minster Boris Johnson stated, “This next step in our long-term catch-up plan should give parents confidence that we will do everything we can to support children who have fallen behind and that every child will have the skills and knowledge they need to fulfil their potential.” However, many would say this is too late and not an effective long-term plan.

The recovery plan also includes:

  • £153 million will provide the opportunity for evidence-based professional development for early years practitioners, including through new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development for the youngest children.
  • £253 million will expand existing teacher training and development to give 500,000 school teachers the opportunity to access world-leading training appropriate for whatever point they are at in their career, from new teachers to headteachers. This represents a significant overhaul of teacher training in this country, and will ensure children are supported by world-leading teachers.
  • Schools or colleges will be able to offer students in year 13 the option to repeat the year if they have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. Schools and colleges will be funded by the Department to help accommodate the additional student numbers.

The Education Recovery Commissioner Sir Kevan Collins said, “The pandemic has caused a huge disruption to the lives of England’s children. Supporting every child to get back on track will require a sustained and comprehensive programme of support. The investments in teaching quality and tutoring announced today offer evidence-based support to a significant number of our children and teachers. But more will be needed to meet the scale of the challenge”.

It is great that both the short and long term effects of the pandemic on student learning and the disruption it has caused has been recognised, however the promises and statements made are not realistic. The overall support amount is no where near enough to provide enough tuition and catch up time to those that need it, nor is it enough to bring the students up to date with their learning. It does however provide a good start, however many would say this is too late, and that the damage has already been done.

There are also statements to say that there will be more training provided to teachers and school leaders in order to help them support these students, however there are no talks of the long term effects of this on these teachers who have already reached full capacity. This extra training will also have a detramental effect on these teachers wellbeing.

Megan Jordan

Image source - Getty Images and The BBC

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