Department for Education written question – answered on 1st March 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

If he will ensure covid-19 catch-up funding for 16 to 19 year olds is not limited to students with low prior attainment in GCSE English and maths.

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Catch up funding for 16- to 19-year-olds is provided through the 16-19 Tuition Fund. This is focused on supporting those young people who are at significant disadvantage and whose learning has been impacted most severely by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have targeted this funding among 16–19 -year-old students for those with low prior attainment because:

  • We know that these young people are disproportionately likely to be from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Students who leave full-time education with low attainment are far more likely to become Not in Education, Employment or Training and far less likely to progress to higher level courses, including HE and apprenticeships. We also know that they earn significantly less over their lifetimes.
  • Students with low prior attainment are more likely to have fallen behind in lockdown, as they will have found it harder to ‘self-study’ at home and are more likely to disengage.

Those without GCSE English and/or maths at the expected standard at age 16 is the agreed measure used for disadvantage in 16-19 education and an established part of the 16-19 funding formula.

Funding is available to spend on those students without a grade 5 or above in English and/or maths GCSE. However, providers are required to prioritise support for students who have not achieved a grade 4 in English and/or maths.  If providers have funding available within their allocations, they can consider whether any young people with a grade 4 also needs catch up support.

As further evidence emerges, we will consider if refinements to eligibility for future funding are needed to maximise its value and impact in providing catch-up support for 16-19 students.

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