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.