Department for Education written question – answered at on 15 September 2021.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support his Department is providing to help schools and students prepare for exams in summer 2022 before Ofqual publishes final details of adjustments to those exams.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

It is vital that pupils, including those due to take exams, attend school to minimise the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their education, wellbeing, and wider development. Due to this, the Department has implemented a comprehensive attendance strategy to ensure absence as a result of COVID-19 is minimised. We continue to closely monitor absence levels and trends to ensure a focus on attendance remains throughout this academic year. The Department continues to work closely with local authorities and schools to help them re-engage pupils, including providing best practice advice. The Government’s Supporting Families programme also continues to work with families where attendance issues are a significant concern.

The Department has also committed to an ambitious education recovery plan, including an investment of over £3 billion. This will provide direct and flexible support to schools through the introduction of the catch-up premium in academic year 2020/21 and the recovery premium in academic year 2021/22, as well as a significant expansion of the tutoring programme, to support children and young people to make up for education lost during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition, from Autumn 2021, schools and colleges will be able to access a grant to pay for senior mental health lead training, helping develop the knowledge and skills to implement an effective whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. An additional £7 million has been made available for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme.

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