To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to close the attainment gap between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from more affluent areas.
All children have had their education disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, but it is likely that disadvantaged and vulnerable groups will have been hardest hit and initial analysis suggests that the attainment gap has widened. The government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a ‘Catch-Up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation has published a support guide for schools which is available here:
The guidance includes evidence-based approaches to catch up for all students and a further school planning guide for 2020-21, which is available here:
Alongside this universal grant, a National Tutoring Programme worth £350 million will deliver proven, successful interventions to the most disadvantaged young people. Research shows high-quality individual and small group tuition can add up to 5 months of progress for disadvantaged pupils.
Schools will continue to receive the pupil premium every quarter. Each school’s original pupil premium strategy may have not been met since March and the pupils’ needs may have changed or intensified. We recommend that, as part of the planning for needs-based universal catch up, school leaders review their pupil premium strategy and amend it to reflect the new situation from September.