Pupils: Disadvantaged

Department for Education written question – answered on 18th September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide support to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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

The government is committed to ensuring that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds can achieve their full potential in education. We have put a number of significant policy measures in place to help nurseries, schools and colleges address the barriers to success that these pupils face, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is a national priority for all pupils to return to full-time education as it is the best place to improve their wellbeing and development, particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package provides additional funding to support children and young people whose education has been disrupted by the outbreak as they return to school. It is on top of the £14.4 billion 3 year investment for schools that was announced last year. The package includes the £350 million National Tutoring Programme, which will provide targeted support for disadvantaged pupils who are most at risk of falling further behind due to having lost time in education. This investment will give schools in all regions access to subsidised high-quality tuition supplied by a group of approved tuition partners. Schools in the most deprived areas will be supported to use in-house academic mentors to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils, in small groups. We have also provided funding to support small group tuition for 16 to 19-year olds, and the improvement of early language skills in reception classes.

In addition, we are allocating £650 million of catch-up premium funding to help schools support all of their pupils. In deciding how to use this funding, schools can give priority to specific groups of pupils in line with their levels of need.

Beyond this package of support, we are continuing to provide schools with pupil premium funding (worth £2.4 billion in the current financial year) to reduce the attainment gap.

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