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Education: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled Rapid evidence assessment examining the potential impact of school closures on the attainment gap, published on 2 June 2020 by the Education Endowment Foundation, what steps he is taking to mitigate any attainment gap among students due to school closures during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled Rapid evidence assessment examining the potential impact of school closures on the attainment gap, published on 2 June 2020 by the Education Endowment Foundation, whether his Department plans to offer additional home-learning resources to disadvantaged families to mitigate any attainment gap following school closures during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

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

£650 million will be provided to 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 COVID-19 outbreak, 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:

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Publications/Covid-19_Resources/Covid-19_support_guide_for_schools.pdf.

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

This £1 billion package is on top of the £14.4 billion three-year funding increase announced last year – recognising the additional work schools will need to do to help pupils to catch up. Schools continue to receive pupil premium, worth £2.4 billion this year, to help them support their disadvantaged pupils.

Our commitment of over £100 million to support remote education and social care is providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10 and those receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, and care leavers. Where these pupils do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers so that they can learn at home. Over 200,000 laptops and tablets have been ordered. We started deliveries to local authorities and academy trusts in May and these deliveries are continuing throughout June. To date, we have shipped over 150,000 devices.

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