Education: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Morgan of Huyton Baroness Morgan of Huyton Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allocate extra funding for (1) mentors, (2) graduate tutors offering one-to-one tuition, and (3) other educational resources, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We will do whatever we can to ensure no child, whatever their background or location, falls behind as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. So far, we have committed over £100 million to support remote education. We are providing laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, and to those receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, or and are a care leavers. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we will be providing 4G wireless routers to them so that they can learn at home. We are also ensuring every school that needs it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education, and offering peer support through the EdTech Demonstrator schools programme - with leading schools and colleges helping others to make the best use of available technology to teach pupils remotely.

As plans continue for a full return to education from September, we have announced a £1 billion COVD-19 “catch-up” package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time.

£650 million will be shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020/21 academic year. This one-off grant to support pupils recognises that all young people have lost time in education as a result of the pandemic, regardless of their income or background.

Whilst school leaders will decide how it is used, the intention is that this money will be spent on the most effective interventions. On 19 June the Education Endowment Foundation published a guide to help school leaders and staff decide how to use this universal funding to best support their pupils, which is available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Publications/Covid-19_Resources/Covid-19_support_guide_for_schools.pdf.

Separately, a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people. This will help accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers.

As well as announcing the biggest funding increase for schools in a decade, raising current levels by £14.4 billion over the next three years, we continue to pay schools quarterly additional funding worth £2.4 billion through the pupil premium to help them support their disadvantaged pupils. Since April 2020, pupil premium per-pupil rates are the highest ever.

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