At a Glance
The government has requested that secondary schools consider offering face-to-face learning over the summer holidays this year.
Although a £720m package is being announced, will this be enough?
How much money has been promised?
- £127m in funding to help disadvantaged pupils has been promised in Scotland
- £1.7bn of funding has now been made available in England for catch-up programs
- The EPI has proposed £650m of extra funding for additional school staff and in-school counselling programs in England
Let’s explore some of the solutions that have been recommended.
Are Summer schools a good idea?
According to the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) summer schools with qualified teachers leading medium groups can help children make up to four months of academic progress.
Around £200m is said to be provided by the government to assist secondary school students.
Chief executive Becky Francis says that “Staffing summer schools will be a challenge because of burnout among teachers.”
Sir Kevan Collins, has said that the idea of summer schools has “promise”. Many educators are open to ensuring summer schools go ahead.
Although this is an adequate solution, summer school trials demonstrated that less than 50% of disadvantaged students would attend. (Study by EEF)
Could Tutoring Sessions Improve the Issue?
100,000+ disadvantaged pupils have accessed the National Tuition Programme since it began in November.
Students could catch-up for almost 3-6 months by receiving support from tutors with their core focus being on literacy and numeracy.
Tutoring sessions are a great way to provide one-to-one support, however, it has been offered since January and the majority of teachers are university students.
“The evidence is thin about tutoring done online not by professionals.”
“So the exact impact of the NTP is unclear at the moment.” – Prof Lee Elliott Major
The government is pledging money to an expanded National Tutoring Programme (NTP) for primary and secondary pupils, and an extended tuition fund for 16 to 19-year-olds.
Increased well-being support is vital
Catching up is one problem but the mental-health support that children receive is another. This should be a top priority as Covid19 has had a negative impact on many.
Teachers trained to improve emotional well-being can help pupils make significant progress, EEF research suggests.
The EPI states that well-being support is necessary for students to achieve the best they can, particularly for disadvantaged students.
What about extending school days?
Longer school days can be a great option for disadvantaged students to catch-up.
Robert Halfon, who chairs the Education Select Committee, suggested the idea as “a serious solution for the government to consider” in England.
“civil society instead of teachers”, could provide the extra teaching, he says.
It would cost £260 per primary pupil and £360 per secondary pupil to add on two extra weeks of school time a year.
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